As your family, life and children’s needs change, so should your child support order. Many life events may trigger a need to modify your child support case. The court allows for such situations. Whether you receive or pay support in Washington, there may come a time when you feel the order should change.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services explains that to get a modification of your child support case, you must ask for a review from the Division of Child Support. You need to have an open case. Your case may come from a court or DCS.

Reasons for a modification

A general rule is that modification is only possible if you have a significant change that affects your income or your child’s needs. However, there are quite a few reasons why DCS may consider changing the amount of your child support order.

An obvious reason is a change in jobs. If you or the other parent earns less or more, DCS may adjust your order. Do note that if you pay support and lose your job, you may get a reduction in the amount you pay, but you will still owe support. The obligation does not go away if you are not making money.

Another common reason for a modification is an increase in costs for the care of your children. For example, if you have a child with health issues and medical expenses go up, your support amount may also go up.

You also may get a reduction in payments if you pay support and you have another child. The court looks out for the best interests of all children. So, it understands that having another child to support may change your financial situation.

Lastly, if parenting time changes to the point where you spend a significantly larger amount of time with your children and you pay support, DCS may reduce your support amount. This adjusts for the needs of the other parent since he or she does not have the children as much and therefore does not need as much money to support them.

Making a change to your child support order does require a legal process. You need to submit paperwork and provide documentation to back up any claims you make.