Modification of Child Support is governed by RCW 26.09.170 and RCW 26.09.175.

Child support may be modified at any time based upon a showing of substantially changed circumstances. However, the voluntary unemployment or underemployment of the obligor is not, by itself, a substantial change of circumstances.

Child support may be modified one year or more after the current Order of Child Support was entered, without a showing of substantially changed circumstances, if:

  • the order in practice works a severe economic hardship on either party or child;
  • the child has changed the age category upon which the current order was based (e.g., children age 0-11 are generally in a lower support category, and children age 12-18 are in a higher support category);
  • the current support order states that support is to end at age 18, but the child is still in high school, and the court finds there is a need to extend support beyond the child’s 18th birthday to complete high school; or
  • RCW 26.09.100.

If 24 months have passed since the current Order of Child Support was entered, child support may be modified without a showing of a substantial change in circumstances, based on a showing of changes in the income of the parents.

In certain situations, the Division of Child Support may be able to implement the modification.  See the statutes above and this link for a discussion of the criteria that permit the Division of Child Support to be involved in the modification process.