Family Law

Modifications to Child Support Orders in Washington State

By November 20, 2020 No Comments

During the divorce process, parents must determine custody and visitation arrangements that serve their child’s best interests. In many situations, one parent will be required to make monthly child support payments in order to help the other parent cover several costs associated with raising the child. However, Washington courts recognize that circumstances can arise that may affect your ability to make these payments. If such circumstances arise, you have the option to pursue a modification to an existing order of support. Let’s take a closer look at the process of obtaining a modification in Washington state.

Times When Seeking a Child Support Modification is Appropriate

It’s important to recognize Washington courts will automatically review an order of support every 24 months. Even minor changes to parental income or economic circumstances may prompt the court to adjust the order, according to RCW 26.09.170. However, you may petition for a modification at any time if you can demonstrate that you’ve experienced substantial changes that impact your finances. Some common examples of substantial changes in circumstances include: suffering a debilitating injury; becoming disabled; remarrying and becoming financially responsible for additional children; losing your job; or discovering that your child has special needs. If you are considering seeking a modification, it’s a good idea to seek the guidance of a family law attorney who can assess your situation and help you determine the best course of action.

The Modification Process in Clark County

Whether the initial child support order originated through a divorce, paternity, or other action, you may pursue a modification for both court and administrative orders. Depending on the specifics of your circumstances and your goals, you may petition for a motion for adjustment of child support or pursue a petition to modify a child support order. The latter is a more involved option, and both require supporting documentation to show the changes in circumstances you’ve experienced. You will file the motion or petition with the court, and papers will be served to the other parent. They will then have the opportunity to respond, and either one of you may request a hearing to lay out your arguments. Ultimately, the court will determine whether to grant your modification request; if successful, the order of support will be amended to reflect these changes.

How a Vancouver Family Law Attorney Can Help

The modification process can be complicated, especially if you aren’t even sure the changes you’ve experienced are significant enough to warrant a modification. It’s in your best interest to consult an experienced family law attorney to understand your options for seeking a modification, especially as an attorney will be able to assess the details of your situation and provide you with personalized legal guidance. That way, you’ll be able to feel more informed and confident about the actions you decide to take.


Reach out to John L. Davis PLLC today at (360) 597-4740 to discuss your modification case with a knowledgeable Vancouver family law attorney.