Many Washington parents understand how child support is initially calculated, but most are unaware of how the modification process works. Parents cannot obtain a modification from the court unless there has been a substantial change in conditions. This implies some sort of extraordinary change in income or expenses related to the child.
Requesting parents might ask the court to increase the amount of child support if they believe that the other parent’s income has increased substantially. On the other hand, if a parent has lost their job and they are paying child support, they should approach the court to ask for a modification. Slight changes in income are not enough to get the court to adjust child support. Each state will have its own threshold for what is considered a substantial change in circumstances. However, parents should be careful to only ask when there has been a substantial change because they may not get another chance to ask for a few years.
When the parent wishes to request a change in the support order, they can start with the Office of Child Support Enforcement to begin the process. They need to file a formal motion to request a change to which the other party has a chance to respond in court if they want.
To learn more about how to request a modification, a parent may contact a family law attorney with experience in child support matters. The attorney may explain the process in greater detail. Child support modification hearings are often contested affairs because the paying parent likely does not want to come up with additional money each month. Moreover, the attorney may challenge the income statement filed by the other party if they discover discrepancies or inaccuracies in what is listed on the statement.