When you get a divorce in Washington, there are two ways to establish child support: an administrative order and a court order. In both of these processes, the terms of the child support order use your current income and living situation to calculate the payment amounts. However, if things change at some point after your divorce, you may request a modification to the terms of the child support agreement. Generally, modifications address changes in income and/or child-related expenses.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services states that changes in your or your ex-spouse’s living situation may not automatically trigger a change to your child support order. However, you may request a review of your order from the Division of Child Support at any time. According to DSHS, some of the common reasons to request a child support modification include getting a new job and having another child. Updates to the cost of childcare and/or health care may also necessitate a modification.

The DSHS indicates that there are many factors that could affect your request to modify your child support order. The details of the review process may depend on whether you have an administrative or court order. For example, your request to change an administrative order must include your reason for requesting a modification and what you think the new payment amounts should be. The order may change via a simple settlement if you, your ex-spouse and the DCS agree to the new terms. Modifications to a court order generally have to go through the court system and may require you to provide more information, such as financial records, tax returns and paystubs.

This information on child support modification is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.