Washington parents who divorce often become entangled in legal battles with their former spouses regarding various issues having to do with their children. Those who pay child support must adhere to the exact terms of their court orders; that goes for both parents, in fact. If a parent is, for some reason, unable to keep making payments, there are certain things he or she will want to remember in order to avoid legal trouble.

Only the court can change a child support agreement. However, if a parent needs to request a modification, the swiftest way may be to first discuss the issue with his or her ex. If he or she agrees to the proposed changes, then all that’s left is to seek the court’s approval.

One must never simply stop making payments. The sooner one seeks the court’s intervention, the better. This is because any unpaid child support will be held in arrears, and it will have to be paid down the line. Contributing to children’s financial care is considered a financial liability; however, it is not a debt that can be discharged through bankruptcy. That means that even if a parent faces financial crisis and files for bankruptcy he or she will still owe the same amount of child support as per the existing court order.

It’s always best to review Washington law to learn more about what types of situations are considered valid reasons for seeking child support modifications. Every state’s laws are different. A good way for a parent to make sure he or she has covered all bases is to seek experienced guidance from a family law attorney before heading to court.