Talks continue about the rise of inflation, housing, vehicles – Everything is costing more. Living expenses can be nearly unaffordable. Many families are having to reevaluate their budgets due to new jobs or reduced hours. Daycare expenses may have gone up or down. Many parents are evaluating their budgets to determine if they can make do with less income or where can cut expenses.
Should you file for a Child Support Modification?
Word of Warning – do not stop or cut your child support amount without getting an order from the court!
Child support modification is a common legal practice, but it’s not always easy to figure out how to go about it. Empower Family Law Legal Technician offer expert legal advice and solutions for family law issues. Do not go it alone – reach out to Empower Family Law.
What is a Child Support Modification?
A child support modification is a process by which people who are paying, or receiving, child support petition the court for changing the child support order. Specific paperwork must be filled out and filed with the court as well as serving and appearing for the court dates. There are specific timelines for when you can modify a child support order and under what circumstances – there are lawful requirements that must be met for your petition to be successful.
Child support modifications are designed to ensure fairness in the process and for the children to recieve access to sufficient funds to provide for them. The family law system can be a difficult process to go through and the court decides on child support modification based on specific circumstances. It can be difficult to change that amount, but you should know that there are circumstances where this is possible and that it may be in your best interest to seek a child support modification.
Expert legal help from Empower Family Law can help ensure your petition is properly filed and served so there is no additional bumps in the process. The last thing you want is more stress by trying to figure out if you filed the right form – we can help you!
Reasons to modify child support agreement
Every two years, parents can ask the court to review how much child support they are required to pay without showing a substantial change in circumstances. Parties can ask for a DCS review of the child support order if DSHS is collecting child support for your case. Parties can also begin their own process for modification of a child support order. Modification of DCS Administrative Orders can also be started after 24 months without showing of substantially changed circumstances. After this two year period, the reason for the adjustment can be based on change in income for either parent or changes in the economic table or standards.
A child support order may be able to be reviewed even if it has not been two years, if there is a substantial change in circumstances. Some examples of changes that the court may find is substantial:
- The age of the child(ren)
- Changes in income of one or both parents
- College needs after high school
- Changes in residential schedule
- Work-related daycare costs
- Medical insurance costs
- Extraordinary medical expenses
- The number of children in either household has changed
How does child support modification process works?
To modify a child support order, you need to petition the court and demonstrate the reasons or changes that have occurred from the time of the last order. You cannot just modify the amount of child support that you are paying – you need to get the order changed. This is true even if the parties are in agreement. Comply with the court order until is changed to best protect yourself.
You will need to have your last two years of tax returns, six months of pay stubs as well as proof of any other recurring, countable income. If the order was entered less than two years ago, you will also need documents that demonstrate the substantial change of circumstances. Plan also to complete a financial declaration of all household bills and expenses as required by the court process.
There are forms for filing a child support modification in Washington https://www.courts.wa.gov/forms. There is also a calculator for determination of the child support calculated amounts.
After completing the correct paperwork and gathering the financial information, there are additional requirements for service, filing and court hearings. If you need help navigating this process, reach out and we can help you!
Avoid the Headaches – Call Empower Family Law LLLT
If the child support modification is not handled correctly, many risks can ensue. If you would like to avoid these risks and ensure the best outcome for your family and your children, you should hire someone with extensive experience and knowledge of the law.
If you’re looking to modify your child support payments without any risk or hassle, our firm is here. We can help you through this process and take care of all of the details for an affordable fee. The time, money, and headaches you save by having a LLLT do all the hard work for you will be well worth hiring one.