What happens when your life, job, or situation changes and your child support agreement does not? Luckily, child support orders are not life-long sentences that do not change with your changing situation. In fact, both custodial and non-custodial parents in Washington State can petition to have their child support agreement examined once a year if their child support situation has significantly changed.

Here are some situations in which changing your child support agreement could make sense:

•    You are making a significantly smaller amount of money each year – or your financial situation has changed significantly in some other way.
•    Your ex-spouse’s income or financial situation has changed significantly in the last year.
•    The expenses associated with raising your child have significantly changed in the last year.
•    A change in your parenting plan – such as a shift from having primary custody to shared custody or vice versa.

It is important to understand that the changes to your life must be involuntary – it will be much more difficult to lower your child support payments if you quit your job than if you were laid off. It is also important to remember that if you lose your job and have a child support order, you must contact the Washington State Division of Child Support instead of simply stopping payment.

Modifying your child support order requires either hiring a family lawyer or working with a family law court facilitator. There are serious consequences of not paying child support payments, so don't delay if you meet one of the situations above. If you or your child’s other parent have recently had a change of income or a change of parenting plan, contact a Washington State child support lawyer today to learn more about modifying your child support payments.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington