While your child support agreement may have worked in the beginning, over time you may find yourself trying to do more with less. Whether due to a job loss, medical issue or the evolving needs of your children, you may struggle to provide the resources your family needs.
In Washington, either parent may request a modification to child support amounts if circumstances have changed substantially or if certain other factors apply.
Modification after a substantial change
Either you or your ex-spouse may petition the court to increase or decrease support amounts if a significant economic change makes the current agreement unworkable. However, you may need to prove to a judge that the change was involuntary and that modification would be in the best interest of your children.
Other reasons for modification
If it has been at least one year since the date of your current order, you may not need to prove a substantial change if certain factors apply:
- Your child is now older and has new educational, medical or other care needs.
- You need to extend support beyond your child’s 18th birthday while he or she completes high school.
- Your current order creates an overwhelming financial burden.
Additionally, if at least two years have passed, you may petition the court to review your order and adjust the amount based on your income, the income of your ex-spouse and the current needs of your children.
If you and your ex-spouse can agree on modifying support amounts, you may not have to pursue a court ruling to change your order. However, you will need to seek court approval to ensure your agreement is legal and legally enforceable.