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Requesting a child support modification in Washington State

A frequent problem that parents who are ordered to pay child support will face is what to do if they would like to have the agreement changed. Child support modification is possible in Washington State, but it must be done according to the rules. There could be many different reasons for the attempt to alter a child support order. The most important factor is to follow the proper steps to getting this done.

It is possible for a parent to file a petition to have the agreement modified. This can be done at any time, but it usually occurs when there has been a significant change in the situation of either parent from the time the child support order was made to the time at which the attempted change is initiated. One example for a change to be requested is if a parent is incarcerated. The Washington State Division of Child Support requires that certain standards be followed in order to file for modification.

For there to be a modification, the order must have been made at least 35 months before; the change that is made in the amount paid monthly - whether it is increased or decreased - must be a minimum of 25 percent or $100 per month of what the order originally was; the change in the remaining amount the supporting parent is obligated to pay must be a minimum of $2,400; or there must have been a change in circumstances that is considered substantial.

There are numerous issues that can come up with both parents and the child that make it necessary for there to be a request for the child support order to be changed. Some might not be aware that it is possible for a change to be ordered, but it is a reasonable request that might be agreed to if the situation warrants it. Those who are considering filing a motion for child support modification need to be on strong legal footing. For that, they should make sure to first discuss the matter with an experienced lawyer.

Source: Washington Officer of Child Support Enforcement, "Washington -- Changing a Child Support Order in Your State, page 2," accessed on Oct. 13, 2015

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