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Family law: The court can modify child support orders

Once the divorce is final, and a child support order is issued, it is far from over because children will tie parents together for quite a few years and perhaps the rest of their lives. Divorced parents in Washington know that life goes on and circumstances change. Job losses, illnesses, remarrying and the increasing needs of children as they grow older may create the need for modified child support orders. Fortunately, the family law court understands this, and parents with documents to substantiate claims of changed circumstances may file petitions for modifications.

A custodial parent might need the noncustodial parent's help with occasional or once-off financial needs regarding their growing children. It could be braces, school camps, uniforms or needs for sports activities, and in cases that involve children with special needs, additional unanticipated expenses might arise. On the other hand, the paying parent might remarry and/or have employment issues or health concerns, which might make it impossible for him or her to maintain court-ordered child support.

Sometimes, one parent will learn about an inheritance or a significant income increase for the other parent, and it is not unusual for that to prompt a request to modify an existing child support order. With competent proof of a substantial change in circumstances, the court will consider modifications to child support orders. While the court might decide to make temporary or more permanent changes, each case is unique and depends upon the unique circumstances presented.

Washington parents whose circumstances have changed enough to create the need for child support modifications can discuss their concerns with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can explain their rights and the available options that will keep the focus on the best interests of the child. Legal counsel can then provide support and guidance throughout any ensuing legal proceedings.

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