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Prosecuting Attorney's Office

Daniel T. Satterberg

King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
King County Courthouse, Room W554
516 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-2362
(206) 296-9000

 

Family Support Division

Questions about Modifications / Changing Child Support Amounts

Photo showing a cute little boy in a sweatshirt.  Photo showing a cute laughing little girl.  Photo showing a toddler wearing stripes.

 
How do I raise or lower my child support?

The first thing you must do is submit a request for review to the Division of Child Support (DCS).  To find out exactly what you must submit for the review visit the Division of Child Support (DCS) (external link)  or call 1-800-442-KIDS (1-800-442-5437).

Once your request is received by the Division of Child Support (DCS), they will determine if your case meets the basic criteria for a State-assisted modification or adjustment action.  If your case meets the basic criteria for modification, it will be referred to our office.

 
If my case does get referred, what happens next?

Even though a case may meet the Division of Child Support’s defined criteria for referral to our office, our Family Support Division may still choose not to file after reviewing the facts and the circumstances.

Our decision not to file your case does not stop you from filing your own action to modify or adjust  your child support.  Visit the King County Court Clerk’s website for more information on filing your own action.

 
What if my child no longer lives with the person I'm paying support to?

If a minor child for whom you pay support has changed his or her residence and is now living with another family member or non-parent guardian, typically your child support will “follow the child”.  Contact the Division of Child Support (DCS) at 1-800-442-KIDS (1-800-442-5437) to alert them of the change in the child’s residence.  In some cases it may also be useful to have your support case reviewed for referral to our office.

 
"Modification" or "Adjustment", what's the difference?

A Child Support Modification:

  • Is initiated by filing a Summons and Petition,

  • culminates in a trial by affidavit, approximately four months after the petition is filed,

  • cannot be based on just a change in income or age of the child(ren),

  • requires an unforeseen substantial change in circumstances or extreme economic hardship,

  • can change any part of the Order of Child Support.

A Child Support Adjustment:

  • Is initiated by filing a motion in Family Law Court,

  • can be based upon just a change of income or age of the child(ren),

  • only affects the child support amount and percentages established by the child support worksheets,

  • is typically completed within one month after the motion is noted in Family Law Court.

 
What if I need my parenting plan changed or modified?

Our office does not commence or respond to parenting plan modification actions.  For more information on how to begin such an action visit the King County Superior Court website.

 
Can I get help lowering or "modifying" my child support obligation?
  • It is a recognized fact that a large number of parents with child support obligations need to have their child support orders adjusted or "modified" to reflect their current circumstances and obligations.

  • The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Family Support Division has a free self-help program in place to assist those requiring hands on assistance with a child support modification action.

  • The Family Support Division accepts referrals to its Modification Self-Help program from the Division of Child Support as well as from the Division’s Contempt of Court Unit.

To find out if you qualify for Modification Self-Help Services from the Family Support Division contact: Debbie Moen at 206-296-8941 or Kristy Bailey at 206-296-9592.