Close this search box.

Timing of a Child Support Modification

After a child support order is entered, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to later want to reexamine the child support amount.  As a child’s needs change or a parent’s income changes, a modification of a child support order may be appropriate or necessary.  In Washington, strict requirements exist as to when such a request may be made with the court and in what way.  Before filing a child support modification case with the court, you first should look at your child support order to see if there is a Periodic Adjustment paragraph.  If there is such a paragraph, there will be instructions as to when child support typically can be adjusted.

A motion to adjust child support is not the same as a petition to modify child support.  A motion has some advantages over filing a petition.  The greatest advantage is that the hearing may be held with less notice to the other parent, meaning that the case may be over faster.  However, you can file a motion to modify (versus adjust) child support if your current child support order gives you permission to do so.  As a matter of “right,” you are entitled to file a petition to modify child support every two years.

Regardless of whether a parent files a motion to adjust support or a petition to modify support, the court often considers the same factors, some of which are as follows:

  1. Increase or decrease in a parent’s income;
  2. At least one of the children has turned 12;
  3. The child support order causes a parent “severe economic hardship;”
  4. A parent wants the other parent to pay support past the age of 18, until the child finishes high school (assuming that the child support order does not account for this);
  5. A parent wants the other parent to help with college; and
  6. Other factors, such as a “substantial change in the circumstances” of either the parents or the children. These sorts of changes could include a severe and/or permanent injury, incarceration, or a permanent change in the child’s needs.

If you have questions about whether it is the right time for you to have a child support adjustment or modification, call us today at (253) 272-9459. We can help you review your current child support order and decide upon the best option for you

Previous Articles

Common Misconceptions About Divorce in Washington State
women throwing away expired food
couple sitting on a couch looking sad, shows the topic of why women initiate divorce more
Girl painting with her mom on a top co-parenting app

Follow Us


First Name(Required)
Last Name(Required)