Child CustodyFamily Law

How to Modify a Child Custody or Support Order in Washington State

By August 20, 2022 August 22nd, 2022 No Comments

Divorcing parents in Washington state often need to navigate discussions about how to provide their children with the financial security they need to enjoy a secure and stable life. The court may issue a child support order that compels one parent to provide regular payments to the other parent (usually the child’s primary caregiver) to assist with the ongoing expenses of raising the child. However, the court recognizes that a parent’s circumstances may change significantly enough to warrant a modification to the existing child support or child custody order. Below is a brief overview of the modification process and some recommendations to help you take the necessary steps to modify the existing order.

When a Child Support Modification is Possible

In general, Washington courts will not allow you to modify an existing child support order out of the blue. Instead, you’ll need to demonstrate a clear reason for pursuing the modification request. Usually, parents who experience a significant change in circumstances may petition the court for a modification. For instance, if a parent loses a job or experiences a sudden loss of income, they may ask the court to modify their monthly financial obligation to reflect their new economic circumstances. Should the child experience a drastic change in their medical needs, the custodial parent may request a modification that compels the other parent to increase their child support obligation. Additionally, substantial shifts in parenting time, like a parent remarrying and having children with their new spouse, can prompt a modification request.

The Modification Filing Process in Washington State

Once you’ve completed and filed the required forms for a child support or child custody modification, you’ll need to serve a summons and other documents on the child’s other parent. Once served, the other parent has 20 days to respond to the petition. From there, you may schedule a hearing to lay out your case. The court will consider your request and issue a ruling to either accept or deny the modification. Although many people decide to navigate the modification process on their own, working with an experienced family law attorney is the best way to ensure you obtain your desired outcome.

Enlist the Guidance of an Experienced Vancouver Attorney Today

Experiencing a sudden change in your economic situation can be stressful, especially when you are responsible for making monthly payments to support your child. Discussing your situation with a trusted and experienced family law attorney is a great way to help you understand your options. Together, you can determine the most appropriate and strategic path forward to ensure that you and your child can continue to enjoy a bright and stable future.


To learn more about modifications in Vancouver or Southern Washington state, call John L. Davis, PLLC, today at (360) 597-4740.

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