Washington is one of the states that follow the equitable distribution doctrine when it comes to divorce. This means that the assets and liabilities of the marriage are divided fairly between both spouses, regardless of who earned more money or who made more financial contributions to the marriage. When it comes to child support, however, modifications may be allowed in certain circumstances.
When there has been a change in circumstances
If either parent has experienced a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a major medical expense, they may be able to modify their child support payments. In order for the modification to get approved, the parent requesting the modification must provide evidence, such as pay stubs or medical bills, to show that their circumstances have changed. If the modifications are approved, it will usually only be temporary, and the payments will go back to the original amount once the parent’s circumstances have improved.
When the child’s needs have changed
If the child’s needs have changed, such as they now require special education or medical treatment, the parent may be able to modify their child support payments. The parent may have to provide evidence, such as educational or medical records, to illustrate to the court what sort of change will be required.
When the child has turned 18
Once the child has turned 18, the parent is no longer obligated to pay child support. However, if the child is still in high school, the parent may be required to continue paying support until the child graduates.
Generally, modifications for child support are only allowed in certain circumstances and must be approved by a judge. If you are thinking about modifying your child support payments, it is important to understand the process and what you will need to do in order to get the modification approved.