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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.
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.
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.
All offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Seattle Child Support Office500 First Avenue SouthSeattle, WA 98104206-341-7000800-526-8658
Tacoma Child Support Office1949 South State Street, 3rd FloorTacoma, WA 98401253-597-3700800-345-9976
Everett Child Support Office840 North BroadwayEverett, WA 98201425-438-4800800-729-7580
Olympia Child Support Office
243 Israel Road, TC3 5th Floor
Tumwater WA 98501360-664-6900800-345-9964
Depending on the method of payment, receipt of payment may be delayed for two to four weeks.
If you ARE represented by counsel, you should contact your attorney for assistance and warrant quash procedures.
You may also turn yourself into the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, pay your bail amount plus a $60.00 fee. You will go through the normal booking process, released and be given a court date for the following week and you must show up for that court date.
Yes, you must attend your monthly contempt review hearings. If you fail to appear or fail to pay, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office may request that the court issue a bench warrant. If you have complied with all the terms of your previous review hearing, such as making an on-time payment or work search requirements, you may contact the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to determine if they will agree to excusing your absence at the monthly review hearing. If you cannot attend your hearing and are not excused, please contact the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office prior to 12:00pm on your court date to explain the reasons for your absence. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will make efforts to relay this information to the court; however, the court may still issue a bench warrant in limited cases.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office may offer an obligor a contempt payment agreement, also known as a “soft contempt”. The contempt payment agreement requires the obligor to make a series of payments by certain dates. If the payments are made in full and on-time, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office may return your contempt file to DCS and request that the court close your contempt file. You are still responsible for all current amount due, plus any past due amount. You will be required to coordinate with your DCS caseworker future payments. Generally, the contempt payment agreement gives the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office flexibility to enter into a unique agreement based upon your child support order, ability to pay, and other circumstances.
The DCS may suspend your license if you are behind in your child support payments. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office does not suspend any licenses and the decision to suspend rests solely with DCS. DCS can suspend any license issued by the State of Washington, including but not limited to:
If you owe child support you must sign a Repayment Agreement with DCS (or pay off the entire debt) to get your license back. Call DCS to ask about signing a repayment agreement and other options. In setting a repayment amount, DCS will look at your income and expenses, including the expenses of caring for any dependent children. You must provide DCS with complete information about your financial situation, including any extra expense you may have, including, but not limited to medical costs, costs for caring for a child who is disabled, etc. DCS may make you pay the first installment due under your repayment agreement before releasing your license. You must keep making your payments when due. If you do not make timely payments, DCS can suspend your license again.
The custodial parent is not required to appear at contempt hearings, although you are welcome to appear if you wish. Any information you would like the court to consider at the hearing, must be submitted to the court and the DCS Family Support Division in writing prior to the hearing in accordance with local court rules.
A Conference Board review is an informal hearing to resolve grievances with DCS. It is an internal dispute resolution process for contesting DCS actions. Individuals are able to address some issues that they are not able to get a decision from anywhere else, such as a grievance about a DCS worker, request for deferral, review of payroll withholdings that cause hardship, and most commonly a request for a charge-off or waiver (decision not to collect child support obligation). Many Conference Board requests are for a write off of back support assigned to the State. Only debt owed to Washington state may be written off – No exceptions. However, there may be other options available, such as a settlement agreement between the custodial and non-custodial parents for amounts owed to the custodial parent.
Under some circumstances, Conference Boards may also set the monthly payment rate on back support. In setting a repayment amount, DCS will look at the individuals’ income and expenses, including the expense of caring for any dependent children. Obligors must provide DCS with complete information about their financial situation, including any extra expenses they may have.
A person cannot be obligated to pay child support until they are legally declared to be a parent and they are listed on the child’s birth certificate. A father’s name is put on the birth certificate if:
If a father is already listed on the child’s birth certificate, the Division of Child Support (DCS) can set support administratively. If no father is named on the child’s birth certificate, then DCS may refer the case to the Family Support Division to establish paternity and set support through the Jefferson County Superior Court
A man is a "presumed father" of a child born during the marriage (or within 300 days of a divorce). Even though husband and wife might have been separated for a while and/or they know the husband is not the biological father of the child, the husband is still considered the "presumed father" until a court order is entered that says the husband is not the father or until another man is legally established as the father of the child.
A paternity affidavit is a legal document, signed by the mother and the father (and the presumed father if the mother was married when the child was born) which legally establishes the father, adds his name to the birth certificate and gives him potential rights (visitation) and responsibilities (child support) of being a father. While it is a quicker way to establish paternity than through the court process, it can be hard to undo if someone changes their mind. The mother and potential father should carefully read the paternity affidavit and make sure they know the consequences of signing a paternity affidavit.
If both the mother and father agree (and the child was born in Washington), they can sign a paternity affidavit and take it to the Division of Child Support, where it can be notarized and sent to the Department of Health in Olympia for filing.
For more information about establishing paternity via a paternity affidavit, visit the Division of Child Support (DCS) website or call DCS at 800-457-6202. They can send you the paternity affidavit and an informational booklet free of charge.
If the father has passed away, the Family Support Division cannot file a court action to establish paternity. Any lawsuit against a deceased person must be filed against the deceased person’s personal representative as part of a probate action. Our office does not handle probate actions.
In some very limited circumstances, we may be able to help get genetic testing done so that the child can get social security death benefits, if otherwise eligible. If the father of a child has recently passed away and you are interested in genetic testing, call our office: 360-385-9359
The Family Support Division of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office files court actions to establish paternity of children. You do not have to be on public assistance to qualify for this service. Our office will only file paternity cases which have been referred to us by the Division of Child Support. Contact DCS 1-800-457-6202 for information about starting a paternity action.
Our office will only do genetic testing when we have filed a court action to establish paternity. We do not do genetic testing in cases our office has not filed in court. However, if you have a paternity action filed in another county, but reside in Jefferson County, we may conduct the genetic testing on behalf of the other county, at their request. If you reside in another county, but have a pending Jefferson County paternity action, we may request that another prosecuting attorney’s office or lab complete your genetic testing.
If your name is on the birth certificate because:
…someone told the hospital that you were married to the mother but you were not actually married to the mother. Call the Division of Child Support at 1-800-457-6202 and tell them you want to do a "paternity establishment action."
...you were married to the mother. You are legally presumed to be the father until you get divorced and your divorce addresses paternity of the child in question or you file a "disestablishment action" Our office does not handle either type of court action. Since there are time limits on when you can seek to disestablish paternity, you should consult with an attorney.
. . . you signed a paternity affidavit. You must act within certain legal time limits if you want to undo a paternity affidavit. Our office does not handle rescissions or challenges to paternity affidavits. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible or if you want to try and look into it on your own, the legal time limits are in the statute called the Uniform Parentage Act, Chapter 26.26 RCW.
...a Court order established you as the father of a child. You have to bring a court action to "vacate" the court order. If our office was involved in the court order establishing you as the father we can review the case to figure out what, if anything, our office can do. Call our office at 360-385-9359 to discuss further.
Generally, you should file a Response to Petition to Decide Parentage (FL Parentage 302). 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. 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 Petition to Decide Paternity.
Usually the parties agree to genetic testing. If the parties do not agree to genetic testing, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will likely file a motion to obtain a court order to obtain genetic testing of the birth mother, child, and potential father. This motion is usually based upon an interview of the birth mother. The court will review the record and decide whether to order genetic testing.
Once an order requiring genetic testing is issued by the court, the parties will be required to come into the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office or another location to give a genetic sample. The sample will be sent to a lab for testing. Once the results are in, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will notify the parties. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will then file the genetic testing. If the potential father is confirmed as the genetic parent, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will usually request financial documents from the potential father to obtain propose a child support payment.
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 or trial.
A parenting plan is not required to obtain a paternity judgment or child support. The paternity judgment will only state who is the custodial parent of the child (who the child resides with most of the time), unless the parties agree to a parenting plan. Usually the parenting plans are completed after the paternity judgment. However, the parties can obtain a parenting plan during the paternity process. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office does not take a position or become involved in parenting plans. The parties may come to an agreement over the parenting plan and file it with the court and serve copies on the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. If the parties are unable to agree to a parenting plan, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office may suggest a temporary parenting plan.
The Jefferson County Superior Court’s Clerk Office provides a family facilitator which may assist with parenting plan issues, such as explaining the family law process, identifying forms, scheduling hearings, and reviewing paperwork for completeness. 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
It depends. Under RCW 26.26B.040, the court has the discretion to order back child support from the time the child was born to the issuance of the final orders. This period is limited to 5 years. However, there are many factors that go into awarding back child support. If the State of Washington has paid certain public assistance to the birth mother, it may be entitled to a portion or all of the back support for periods when the public support was paid. In those circumstances, the State of Washington through the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office may request the back-child support, which will be due to the State if awarded. If there is no public assistance, the custodial parent may request back support as a part of the paternity action.
It depends on many factors, mostly whether or not people cooperate and follow through with what they are supposed to do. Most often cases are completed within 9 months by agreement, motion for summary judgment, or default (because one or both parties did not response). If the case proceeds to trial, it may take longer than 9 months.
No. The Family Support Division and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office do not represent either the mother or the father. The deputy prosecuting attorney in your case represents the State of Washington. You must retain an attorney if you want an attorney to represent you.
It is not legally binding for someone to admit verbally that he is the dad. If there is more than one possible father, genetic testing must be done. However, if there is only one possible father, he can admit he is the father but he must do it in writing, by completing a Response form, signing an Agreed Order Determining Parentage, or signing a Paternity Affidavit (see above). These forms can be found on the Washington Courts’ website.
The person taking the sample will ask you a few questions and rub a cotton swab (like a Q-Tip) inside your cheek. It takes a few minutes and does not hurt. Please bring picture identification.
No, genetic testing is free to all parties. The State pays for this service.
It depends on whether or not the mother and the father cooperate with genetic testing. If one or both do not cooperate, it can take months or longer. Once the mother, child and the father have been swabbed, genetic test results take 4-6 weeks. The results will be mailed to you. We cannot give you the results over the phone.
Once an order is entered establishing paternity, we will send a certified copy of the order to Vital Statistics and they will add the father’s name. It takes 6-8 weeks or longer. We will send you instructions on how to order a birth certificate when we send you a copy of the court’s order establishing paternity.
The Jefferson County Superior Court hears paternity cases 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 Jefferson County 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.
You will have a chance to 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 make a list of the things you want to tell the Court before coming to the courtroom.
If the other parent has not returned your child or violated your parenting plan in another way, call 911 and report the violation to your local police department. They may ask to see a certified copy of your parenting plan.
There is probably not much you can do until there is an actual a violation of the Court’s order. If your concerns are serious, you should have an attorney to represent you in this situation.
If you do not have an attorney, you can contact the Clallam - Jefferson County Pro Bono Lawyers at: 1-888-201-1014.