You say you can’t make your child support payments. The first question is – why? The next step is to take action in the form of notification. Child support payments can be modified but only in certain circumstances. It is crucial to follow the proper procedures in a timely fashion because the reality is that the court will not always change your maintenance order. The legal criteria must be met.

Two Methods to Modify a Child Support Order –
• Motion for Adjustment of Child Support
• Petition to Modify Child Support Order

Which method do I choose?

A Motion for Adjustment of the child support order is the easier route plus the court can rule on it quicker, with less notice. This is the option if you are just trying to modify the support amount. For other expenses that need to be added or removed (daycare, education, tax reimbursements) file a Petition to Modify the child support order.

File a Motion for Adjustment of Child Support if:

• Your child support order explicitly permits this AND you have followed the instructions in the Periodic Adjustment section of the order but are unable to reach an agreement with the other parent; or
• Two years have passed since the current order was entered into AND one parent’s income has changed; or
• The child support schedule has changed; or
• One year has passed since the current order was entered into AND one child has turned twelve since that time.

File a Petition to Modify the Child Support Order if:

• You meet the above requirements to file a motion for adjustment; or
• One year has passed since the current order was entered into AND the order is causing great economic hardship, you want the other parent to pay support beyond the child reaching 18, or you want to add an automatic adjustment provision; or
• The current maintenance order was entered into without notice to you; or
• A substantial change in circumstances of parent or child (e.g, incarceration, illness, laid off from employment); or
• When the court entered the support order it did not review it for sufficiency.
Perhaps your situation calls for merely a temporary reprieve. In such case apply for a temporary modification by filling out the forms located HERE.

This entire process, like most legal issues, are simpler to navigate with the assistance of an attorney. However, if you choose to file one of the court actions mentioned above on your own, be sure to file in the county where the support order was entered, where the child resides, or where the person with primary residential custody resides.

For more advice on child support, custody or other family law matters schedule an appointment at Pacific Northwest Family Law today. Our supremely qualified Washington lawyers are ready to take on your case with great care and skill. Give us a call at 360-926-9112.