There are so many factors in our daily lives that can lead to sudden or gradual changes. When it comes to legal orders, such as child support or spousal support a shift in life events may make it difficult for you to honor the terms of the existing agreement. Fortunately, Washington state courts allow you to possibly seek a modification to an existing order so that you can revise the terms to better suit your circumstances. Let’s take a closer look at what may prompt you to pursue a modification and how to get started with the modifications process.
Events Prompting Modifications
There are many reasons that you may wish to request a modification to an existing order. Some of the most common reasons for pursuing a modification include:
- Loss of income. If you have suddenly lost your job, suffered a demotion, or a reliable stream of income has dried up, it may be nearly impossible to make the necessary child support or alimony payments outlined in the existing order.
- New responsibilities. If you have remarried and you have new children to support, you may wish to seek a modification to your existing child support order from a previous marriage so that you can provide more financial support for your new family.
- Additional expenses. As the custodial parent, you may find that your child requires expensive orthodontics or costly tutoring sessions. In such cases, you may wish to ask your ex for additional child support in order to cover these increased costs.
- Sudden inheritance. If you discover that your ex has suddenly received a substantial inheritance or increase in income, you may want to petition the court to increase the amount of child support or alimony you receive.
Whenever circumstances change, it is a good idea to think about how these events will impact the terms of your current child support, child custody, or alimony agreement.
Pursing a Modification
In order to start the process of obtaining a modification, you should reach out to a reliable family law attorney, a courthouse facilitator, or the Washington State Division of Child Support. These resources will help you locate and complete the necessary paperwork. Once the paperwork is filed, the court will examine the petition and any supporting documentation, the process will move forward. It can take up to several months for the modification to take effect, so it’s best to act quickly.