A common question asked of family law attorneys is, “what happens to child support payments if another child is born?” This is a question asked by parents who pay child support and receive it. The reality is every child is entitled to financial support, and there is only so much money available. So, child support may need to be adjusted to reflect these changes. But the Washington State family law courts don’t automatically monitor these issues, so someone will need to request a modification of your support order.
Does Child Support Decrease If Another Child is Born?
A parent’s remarriage or the birth of another child are not automatic qualifiers for a change in child support, but parents must financially support all of their children. And the new child is just as deserving of support as those from a previous relationship.
When reviewing any requests for a child support modification, the court will always make its decision based on the best interests of the existing children and the new baby. The custodial parent and payor parent’s income will be reevaluated to determine a fair amount for child support. While a new spouse can’t typically be made responsible for a stepchild, their income can increase the payor parent’s ability to pay child support.
The Child Support Modification Process in Washington State
In Washington State, a change in support will only take place after a formal request is submitted, and either parent can file a request to modify child support. If it has been less than a year since your original support order, you must demonstrate a change in economic circumstances to modify child support. If it has been more than a year since your original support order, you must meet certain requirements to be eligible for a modification:
- The payments represent an undue financial burden on either parent;
- Due to the child’s age, the original child support calculations are no longer applicable; or
- The child has turned 18 but still requires support to finish high school.
If you are filing for modification because of the birth of a new child, you cannot file the request until after the new baby is born. Modifications are a process, and the court is generally hesitant to change existing orders. You and your spouse will be required to submit current information showing income, assets, debts, and your current Parenting Plan. Although it may take several months for the court to review and approve a modification, any changes will be retroactive to the date the modification request was filed.
Get the Qualified Assistance You Need With Post-Divorce Modifications
If you believe your child’s support order should be modified, you should seek the counsel of a knowledgeable Washington State family law attorney. The attorneys at Bighorse & Associates have experience helping clients pursue child support agreements and modifications, and we will work to get you the best outcome for your situation. Click here for a free consultation.