When can you modify a child support order?

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2021 | Child Custody & Visitation, Modifications |

When it was created, your child support order reflected your life, your financial situation and your child’s needs. Significant changes in your life, though, may lead you to wonder whether your support arrangement can change, too. What life changes might be cause for a modification?

Has your custody arrangement changed?

When your child spends more time with you than they did previously, you will not only take on more parenting responsibility but greater expenses in the process. If you take on more parenting time or move with your child away from your ex, these changes to your child custody arrangement are an important reason to modify your support arrangement.

Has your income or your ex’s income changed?

You and your ex’s income are an important factor in how Washington courts calculate child support. If one of you gets a promotion, receives a raise or enters a new position with higher pay, that may mean that you can afford to provide more for your child. If one of you lost your job, receives a pay cut or experiences a health condition that leaves you unable to work, on the other hand, you will likely have difficulty putting the same amount toward the care of your child that you did before. Your child support order can change to reflect this new financial situation.

Have your child’s needs changed?

Sometimes, your child’s needs change significantly, resulting in long-term changes to the cost of providing for them. This may occur in a variety of situations, including:

  • Increased or decreased costs when entering daycare, leaving daycare or changing providers
  • Increased educational costs like school tuition
  • Increased cost of healthcare due to insurance price increases or ongoing health conditions

To ensure that your support order continues to meet your child’s need as they grow and change, modifications can address these changing costs.

After financial changes, seeking a modification can ensure that your support arrangement meets your child’s current needs while also protecting your long-term financial health.