Child support orders can be an afterthought after a dissolution in which the parenting plan was the focus of the litigation. Sometimes they can be unfair, and a party will seek to modify the child support order as soon as the law allows. Other times, there can be a substantial change in the financial condition of one parent or the other, perhaps even immediately after the decree was entered.
In Washington, either parent can petition to modify child support at any time (even immediately after final orders in the dissolution) if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Otherwise, after a year, there is no need to show a substantial change in circumstances if the order is working a “severe hardship” on either party or the child, or if the child has moved into a new age category (or if post-secondary support – college support – is now requested). After two years, either parent may modify the child support order simply due to changes in the incomes of either parent, or if the economic tables used to calculate support have changed. (This type of change in child support may only be sought every two years, at the soonest.)
To negotiate the complexities of pursuing, or defending, a child support modification, contact Craig Mason of Mason Law in Spokane, WA at 509-443-3681.