A Washington child support order may be modified in certain circumstances. A court may order modification of child support if there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the current order was entered. A court may also order a modification at least one year after the current order was entered without a finding of a substantial change in circumstances if it finds the existing order results in an economic hardship on either parent or on the child. Additionally, after two years from entry of the existing order, adjustment, or modification, the court may adjust the order based on changes in the parents’ income without a finding of a substantial change in circumstances. RCW 26.09.170.
A father recently appealed a denial of his petition for modification of his child support obligation. The parents divorced in 2016. The court ordered the father to pay $1,167 in child support each month based on $10,000 per month in imputed income. The trial court found he had provided insufficient information regarding his income. At the time of the divorce, the father traveled internationally, lived in Dubai, and gave expensive gifts. The appeals court noted the child support order reflected a conclusion by the trial court that the father was hiding assets.
The father petitioned for modification after nearly three years. He claimed his income had decreased significantly and the child support was now a hardship.