I have been served with papers to change my child support. What should I do?

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Authored By: Northwest Justice Project

Read this for help figuring out what to do next if you just received papers proposing to change your child support. #3813EN


Read this only if you live in the state of Washington or have received papers about child support from the state of Washington.

Talk to a lawyer right away. Talk with one with family law expertise, if you can afford one. If you do not have a lot of money, see below.

If you cannot get legal advice soon, you should figure out if this is a court case or an administrative case.

In Washington, a court order is a Child Support Order from a Superior Court. It will say this on the first page, towards the top.

Sample Caption of Court Form
If your papers say "State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services Division of Child Support" or "State of Washington Office of Administrative Hearings" at the top, you do not have a court order. You have an administrative order. Do not use this packet. Read Do you owe child support?

If this is a court case, figure out which packet you need to respond.

Look at the title of your papers in the upper right section of the first page, under the case number.

Act fast to figure out how to respond, and how much time you have to do it. If you do not respond, or you do not respond in time, the other party will probably win automatically. 

If you were served with a Petition, you will have anywhere from 20 to 90 days from the time you received the court papers to respond. If you were served with a Motion, you may have as few as four business days after getting the court papers to respond. If the notice does not say your deadline, immediately call the clerk for the court where the motion was filed to ask what the deadline is.   

The packet you use will have more about your deadline. It will also help you with what to do if you miss or cannot meet your deadline.

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Mar 02, 2021
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