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Child Support Modification

Is modifying child support an option?

Like most court orders, once child support is in place it can be difficult to change.That’s not to say it’s impossible, but just because you can, doesn’t make it easy, quick, or cheap. It can and most likely will take time, money, and effort.

The simplest way to seek a change to child support is through a process called Support Adjustment.

Support Adjustment can be sought when there are known changes to income of the parents and at least two years have passed since the last Support Order was entered.If you are seeking more detailed changes to the terms of the Support Order, or less than two years have passed, you will need to file a Support Modification.

What's required to qualify for a child support modification?

A child support modification is a more complex and sometimes uphill battle. Even if you follow the process, you may not be successful.  The courts require substantial financial changes, and often even that isn’t enough to move the needle.

That said, it is possible to modify child support if you meet certain criteria.

These include:

  • When the income of one or both parents’ changes drastically. This includes both increases and decreases.
  • When one parent loses his or her job.
  • When one parent goes to jail or is otherwise incarcerated.
  • When one parent has a new child in another relationship.
  • When parenting time changes substantially.
  • When the child’s needs change, including the need for more or less child care, health care, or education.
  • When other factors used to calculate child support change.

When it comes to child support modification, because it’s so difficult to alter, your best bet is to get it right the first time. Situations do change, but it’s good to have a solid base.

Take the time to make sure you have everything in order and that you have an agreement you can live with. Don’t sign off just to be done. Such haste can lead to mistakes and oversights. If there are problems with an agreement, it’s easier to fix them now than down the road.

Modifying child support is a complicated process, one that has a huge impact on your life. It’s often in your best interests to hire an attorney with experience in these cases. A skilled lawyer, like those on our Seattle team, can help avoid mistakes and make sure you don’t wind up paying an unfair amount.

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