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It is very stressful to be in between jobs and our office recognizes that the whole family suffers when one parent is unemployed. Simply being unemployed, however, is not grounds for modifying your child support. If you are long-term unemployed due to an actual disability, the statute will allow us to modify your order if you have documented, medical proof of the disability and any benefits you receive.
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In general, if your current order of child support was entered more than 24 months ago and your incomes have changed, your case may be ready for a review. Individuals who have signed an application requesting non-assistance support enforcement services from the DCS can request that the agency review an order of child support for possible modification or adjustment. Apply for DCS non-assistance support enforcement services
Once a DCS case has been opened, a Request to Review an Order of Child Support form 9-741 can be made. Completed forms should be sent to:
Division of Child Support
PO Box 11520
Tacoma, WA 98411-5520
At the time you mail in the form, you must also provide the following information:
1. Recent Wage Stubs
2. A completed Financial Declaration
3. Your last two years of tax returns
4. Financial Declaration (available at Washington Courts website)
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office cannot process a modification or adjustment unless the case is referred to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office by DCS. You cannot request a modification or adjustment directly from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
After a referral by DCS, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will decide whether your case meets our criteria for filing a petition or motion with the court. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reviews the information supplied by the parties prior to filing. The case can be tracked one of two ways:
1. The case may be filed as a Petition for Modification. This is the more expansive option for reviewing the order. With a Petition for Modification, the court can review all facets of the child support order unless specifically prohibited by language in the underlying order. The court can address the issue of tax exemptions, college costs, and changes to health insurance. Modifications are the preferred choice if one or both parties is self-employed to allow additional time for the exchange of discovery. If your current Order of Child Support is from outside Jefferson County and/or outside the state of Washington, your case must be filed as a modification. Modifications take place approximately 3 months after the case has been filed.
2. The case may be filed as a Motion for Adjustment of Child Support. Order These cases are handled in a more streamlined manner. The Court can review updated incomes for the parties and draft new orders with a new support amount. In a Motion for Adjustment of Child Support Order, the court cannot address tax exemptions, college costs, or healthcare insurance. These issues will default to the current language in your original order. The court can only adjust the child support payment. Adjustments take place approximately three months after filing.
It is imperative that our office has an updated address and phone numbers for both parties. As the case moves forward, you will receive numerous letters updating the status of your case and requesting additional information from you.
All income and resources of each parent’s household must be disclosed. The opposing party will receive copies of everything you submit. It is your responsibility to black out all of your social security numbers, bank account statement numbers, and other identifying numbers.
Please understand that even if our office declines to file your case at this time, you may always proceed on your own or resubmit it for review at a later time.
Generally, you should file a Response to Petition to Modify Child Support Order (FL Modify 502) and a Financial Declaration (FL All Family 011). These forms are available at the Washington Courts’ website. You must file a copy with the Jefferson County Superior Court and serve a copy on all parties, including the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Usually the Response must be filed and served within 20 days of you being served or accepting service.
It is recommended that you contact an attorney for legal assistance. Please see Resources below for other agencies which provide additional information, referral services, or pro bono legal services.
If you are unable to find an attorney for your case, online resources may be available to assist you in filling out the forms. Please see Washington Law Help for their Petition to Modify Child Support Order online packet.
If you oppose the motion, generally you should file a response to the motion. The response should indicate why you disagree with or object to the motion. You must file a copy with the Jefferson County Superior Court and serve a copy on all parties, including the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
You may also consider filing a financial declaration and supporting documents, such as paystubs or information to support your requests. The forms for responding to a Motion to Adjust Child Support Order can be found on the Washington Courts’ website.
If you are unable to find an attorney for your case, online resources may be available to assist you in filling out the forms. Please see Washington Law Help for their packet on responding to a Motion to Adjust Child Support Order.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office follows Chapter 26.19 RCW when proposing child support transfer payments. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office uses a standard calculation based upon statutory requirements for income, deviation, and child support tables. RCW 26.19.075 is the statute used to determine sources of income. RCW 26.19.020 is the statute used for deviations from the standard calculation.
If you want to request a deviation above or below the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office proposed child support transfer payment, you should follow the statutory requirements (RCW 26.19.020) and state your reasons in a sworn declaration (FL All Family 135), along with supporting documentation. The declaration is available at the Washington Courts’ website. You must file a copy with the Jefferson County Superior Court and serve a copy on all parties, including the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. You may also request a deviation during your hearing.
Many people ask if they have to come to court. The answer is that you are not under subpoena to appear in court and the Court will not issue a warrant if you do not attend. However, it is in your best interest to participate fully in this process and to come to court on the day of your hearing. Please plan on arriving 15 minutes before court is scheduled to begin. Please plan on setting aside half the day for the hearing.
The Jefferson County Superior Court hears modifications and adjustments on Fridays at 2:00pm. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will schedule the hearing and send notice to all parties through USPS mail. If you cannot attend the hearing, please contact the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and they will attempt to reschedule the hearing. Please contact them as soon as you learn you cannot attend the hearing. You can also request a continuance by filing paperwork with the Superior Court.
If you are planning to come to court, please let us know if you need any accommodations in terms of language interpreters or disability accommodations.
You will have a chance to address (talk to) the Judge or Commissioner during the hearing. Often, the parties are limited to five minutes. While some people choose to hire an attorney to represent them, many do not. You may find it helpful to write down the points that you want to convey to the Court.
If you plan on testifying at the hearing for a petition to modify child support order, you must file a Motion to Allow Testimony (About Modifying Child Support) (FL Modify 503) within 10 days of the hearing. The motion must be filed with the Jefferson County Superior Court’s Clerks Office and served on all parties, including the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. These forms are available at the Washington Courts’ website.
The court will make a final decision at the end of the hearing. You will know the result before you leave court.
Unfortunately, no childcare is available at the Courthouse.
While it may be to everyone’s long-term benefit for a parent to achieve a higher degree, the statute is very clear that parents are not excused from paying child support because they have returned to school. You will be expected to pay child support based on your last known wages.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office does not file parenting plan modification or establishment petitions. The Jefferson County Superior Court’s Clerk Office provides a family facilitator which can explain the family law process, identify forms, help schedule hearings, review paperwork for completeness, compute child support per provided income, and help with referrals to other agencies. They cannot provide legal advice or help fill out forms. This service is offered Wednesdays from 8:30am until 3:30pm on a walk-in basis. More information may be found at the Jefferson County Superior Court website or by contacting the Facilitator at (360) 385-9124.
Maybe. The statute may allow a paying parent to argue for a deviation (reduction) in child support if they are supporting another biological child. It is within the court’s discretion to grant this deviation for another child or not. The court considers other factors such as the ages of all the children, the total circumstances of both households, and the financial situation of the adults involved. If you want the Court to consider a deviation you must provide birth certificates for the children at issue as well as the financial information of the new spouse. If you believe a deviation is appropriate in your case, it is your responsibility to request a deviation in writing prior to your hearing. Please see the question above titled “What should I do if I need a deviation from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office proposed child support transfer payment?”
Yes, the court may order parents to pay their proportional shares of daycare and other special child rearing expenses. These expenses may include but are not limited to:
The court will consider each parent’s ability to pay for these expenses. The inclusion of these expenses depends upon the language in your underlying order, whether these costs are agreed upon by the parties, and the specific situation in each family.
If you would like to ask the court to address these expenses, you must make this request in writing and provide documentation of the expenses before the trial. Only under a petition to modify can these be changed. If your case is a motion to adjust, these cannot be changed.
The statute actually acknowledges that teenagers are more expensive than elementary school aged kids. If your child is over the age of 12, his or her portion of support is calculated at a higher amount in the child support software. This frequently is a strong consideration for modifying or adjusting your order. An updated pro rata share of expenses may also assist in paying for some after school activities, but this category of expenses is dependent upon the language in the original orders or by agreement of the parties in each individual case, unless it is a petition to modify, which may allow the court to modify the pro rata share of expenses. The court may also take into consideration driver’s education costs, SAT fees, and other affiliated senior year expenses
If you are seeking “Post-Secondary Support” or financial contribution toward college costs, you must file a modification before your child turns 18 or finishes high school. Please review the specific language in your existing order to determine your deadline. The Court will want to know the following information:
1. Your child’s grades
2. Where your child has applied/been accepted and the tuition cost
3. Whether or not the two parents both attended college themselves
4. Whether there was an expectation that the child attended college
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will not file this on your behalf. You must do this on your own. You can find all the forms you need on the Washington Courts’ website. The best time to file this motion is usually first semester of the child’s senior year in high school.
We expect people to do their best in filling out the required paperwork. We will not accept blank forms with your signature at the bottom. We are not allowed to give you legal advice, but we can answer questions if something is not clear to you. If you would like to set up a ten-minute appointment with the Support Enforcement Coordinator to assist you with the final touches on your paperwork, please (360) 385-9359.
Your safety is our primary concern. When filling out your paperwork, black out any address or identifying information you do not want shared with other parties.
Dove House Advocacy Services provides free, confidential crisis intervention and advocacy services to crime victims in Jefferson County, WA including survivors of domestic and sexual violence, fraud, and elder abuse. Dove House’s 24 Hour Crisis Line is 360-385-5291.
If you feel that your situation requires extra security in the courtroom, please let us know and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will make arrangements.
If you have not received payments for more than three consecutive months, your case may be reviewed for a contempt action. Please contact your DCS case worker, as the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office cannot begin a contempt action unless the case is referred to it by DCS. Once the case is referred the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will evaluate the case to determine if it can accept the case.
Copies of any order entered in Jefferson County may be obtained by contacting the Superior Court Clerk’s Office. We will always mail you a copy of your modified order within 7 business days of your court date.