Skip to main content
King County logo

Opposing counsel stand before a judge

 

The Family Support Division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, King County Superior Court and the Division of Child Support all recognize that the financial circumstances of parents frequently change over time as a child grows up. And because child support obligations in the State of  Washington are based upon the financial circumstances of both parents, child  support obligations are often subject to recalculation resulting in new support obligations.

A party to a King County Order, judicial or administrative, may contact the Division of Child Support and request that their child support case be reviewed. A party requesting review need not be a recipient of state benefits in order to request a review of the amount being paid or the amount of support being received. This process is a free service performed by both the Division of Child Support and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.  To initiate the review process contact the Division of Child Support.

Teacher reads and displays a book to the daycare class.
Little boy rides his bike without training wheels for the first time.
Three teen girls hover over a computer.
Teen proudly wears his cap and gown at graduation.

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 nonassistance support enforcement services from the Division of Child Support can request that the agency review an order of child support for possible modification or adjustment.  Apply for DCS nonassistance 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

The Prosecutor’s Office will make a determination whether your case meets our criteria for filing a motion with the Court. Our attorneys review 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. 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 King 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 Support. 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 (and new pro rata share of expenses). In a Motion for Adjustment of Support, the Court cannot address tax exemptions or college costs.  These issues will default to the current language in your original order. Adjustments take place approximately 6 weeks after filing.

It is imperative that our office has an updated address for both parties or we cannot file your case. 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.

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.  If your hearing begins in the morning, plan for childcare and missing work until noon.  Pay for parking for 3 hours.  If your hearing begins in the afternoon, block your schedule so you have no other commitments until 4:00.  While our attorneys are prepared and organized, there are a lot of hearings and the Court determines the flow of the calendar, not the Prosecutors. 

If you are planning to come to court, please let us know if you need any accommodations in terms of language interpreters, disability accommodations, extra security, or a request to appear by phone if you live more than 60 miles away.  Here is the Request to Appear by Telephone.

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.

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.  Children are not allowed in the Courtrooms.

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.   Our office has resources to help you search for new employment.   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.

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 Family Support Division does not file parenting plan modification or establishment petitions.  The King County Superior Court Family Court provides helpful information and links to obtain the forms needed to commence these actions.  The King County Family Law Facilitator Program and Early Resolution Case Managers may also provide assistance and resources.
brand-new-parents-by-oakley-originals-1-20-13

Maybe.  The statute does allow a paying parent to argue for a mild reduction in child support (referred to as a deviation) 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.

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:

  • sports
  • tuition
  • long-distance transportation expenses
  • tutoring, and
  • summer camp.

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.

keefer-crossing-middle-school-basketball-by-jill-carlson-12-17-15

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.  Orthodontia costs may be a new form of expenses that your family is facing and the Court may decide to include those expenses in your updated order.  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 attend college

If you have only one child, or you are seeking college support for your youngest child, the Prosecutor’s Office will not file this modification on your behalf.  You must do this on your own.  You can find all the forms you need on the Family Court webpage.    The best time to file this motion is usually first semester of the child’s senior year in high school.  If you are asking for the Prosecutor’s Office to assist you with this request, please submit your materials a full year in advance.

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 someone from our Navigator Program to assist you with the final touches on your paperwork, please call our main line at 206-296-9020.
Your safety is our primary concern.  When filling out your paperwork, black out any address or identifying information you do not want shared with your ex.   If you feel that your situation requires extra security in the courtroom, please let us know and we will make arrangements.  For a full list of resources available to you, please visit the Protection Order Advocacy Program website.

Use the Internet Payment Site - NO FEE

Go to: "My Secure DSHS"

  • Create a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account.

  • Add the DCS Online service.

  • Click on "DCS Online" service to register the your bank account.

  • Within 10 days, you will receive an activation code via mail.

  • You will also receive an email when your bank account has been verified.

  • With the activation code, log on to the secure site to make your payment.

Sign Up for Automatic Payment Authorization and Electronic Funds Transfer - NO FEE

  • Go to Electronic ESHS Forms to download the authorization form.

  • Or call 1-800-468-7422 to request the form (DSHS 18-484).

  • Or request the form from your local DCS office.  

Mail Your Payment - NO FEE

 

Address the envelope to:

DSHS / DCS
WSSR
PO Box 45868
Olympia WA 98504-5868

Pay in Person - NO FEE

 

Bring check, money order, cashier's check or cash exact change only.
(DCS cannot accept over $5.00 in coins.)

  • Everett Field Office
    840 North Broadway
    Everett, WA 98201

  • Seattle Field Office
    500 First Avenue South
    Seattle, WA 98104

  • Tacoma Field Office
    1949 South State Street, 3rd Floor
    Tacoma, WA 98401

You can also pay at the Superior Court Clerk's Office, 206-296-9300
Cash, money order or cashier's check.

  • King County Courthouse
    516 Third Avenue, Room E609
    Seattle, WA 98104
    Note: Closed from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

  • Maleng Regional Justice Center
    401 Fourth Avenue North, Room 2231
    Kent, WA 98032
    Note: Closed from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

  • Youth Services Center
    1211 East Alder Street, Room 307
    Seattle, WA 98122
    Note: Closed from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Pay with your Credit or Debit Card - FEE

 

The following agencies charge a fee to deliver your payment.
The fee is a percentage of the amount you are paying.

ChildSupportBillPay 855-972-9327
MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover Card
You must have the following information to use ChildSupportBillPay:

  • Your Social Security Number

  • DCS Account Number

 

CiviTek at MyPaymentPortal
MasterCard, American Express, Discover or Debit Card
You must have the following information to use MyPaymentPortal:

  • Your Social Security Number

  • DCS Account Number

 

TouchPay 1-877-778-7540
MasterCard, Visa, or GreenDot Money Pak
You must have the following information to use TouchPay:

  • Pay to: WA DCS

  • Code City: WA DCS

  • State: WA

  • Your Social Security Number

  • DCS Account Number

If you have not received payments for more than three consecutive months, your case may be reviewed for a contempt action.  Learn more about our Contempt Unit.

If the paying parent is paying the child support payments, but not paying his pro rata share of daycare or medical or extra-curricular expenses, you will need to set a motion in Family Law to enforce these obligations.  You can find the paperwork at the Family Law Instructions webpage.

Copies of any order entered in King 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.
There is no one correct way to record and track your family expenses.  Many families have used the "Our FAMILY WIZARD website" and find it helpful.

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons
Daycare 31, by Parker Knight
Jackson, first ride without training wheels, by Jerry
Geek Squad, by Fort Meade
Hunter Grove High School Graduation, by Joseph Grove

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
The Prosecutor's Post