Modifying Child Support

When may an order of child support be modified?

At any time upon a showing of substantial change in circumstances.

Can an order of child support be modified without a showing of substantial change in circumstances?

Yes. Generally, an order of child support may be modified one year or more after it has been entered without a showing of substantial change in circumstances if:

  1. the order works a severe economic hardship on either party or the child;
  2. the child is no longer in the age category on which the current support amount was based; and
  3. a child is still in high school and there is a finding that there is a need to extend support beyond the eighteenth birthday to complete high school.

How do I start a child support modification action?

By filing a petition for modification and child support worksheets. A fee must be paid when the petition is filed.

I have filed my support modification petition with the court. What do I do now?

You need to serve the other party with a summons, a copy of the petition, and your proposed child support worksheets. Once this is done, proof of service with the court must be filed with the court as well.

How long does the other parent have to respond?

The responding party’s answer and worksheets must be served to you (or your attorney) and the answer filed with the court within twenty days after service of the petition or sixty days if served out of state.

When can a hearing for a temporary order be scheduled?

At any time after the other party has filed their responsive pleadings, either party may schedule a hearing. Consult the local rules of the county where the action is filed for additional details.

I am seeking a support modification for my two children. It has been over month since my ex-wife was served at her home in Washington state. What do I do now?

Since she was served within the state, her failure to answer within the time required of twenty days can result in entry of a default judgment for you. Consult the local rules to correctly implement the procedures to obtain a default.

My child’s father has just received a substantial raise at work. Can I get my support amount changed without having to go through the modification process?

Yes. All orders of child support may be adjusted once every twenty-four months based upon changes in the income of the parents without a showing of substantially changed circumstances. Either you or the other party may initiate the adjustment by filing a motion and child support worksheets.