Many Washington parents are currently adapting to post-divorce lifestyles with their children. In situations where co-parents agreed to certain plans regarding custody, visitation or child support, the court expects both parties to fully adhere to the terms of the order it handed down. In some situations, a parent may have reason to request modification of an existing plan.
Paying child support can be quite challenging, especially if the paying parent suffers a loss of income, a medical emergency or remarries and begins to financially provide for step-children. The court understands life changes and that an existing payment schedule may no longer be feasible in certain situations. The court does not look favorably upon parents who try to take matters into their own hands by simply ceasing to make ordered child support payments on time.
The court also expects parents to adhere to the terms of their custody agreements. If a parent relocates or believes that a child's well-being is at risk, he or she can bring the situation to the court's immediate attention. If a co-parent is abusing drugs or alcohol, for instance, it would definitely be cause for the other parent to request a visitation or custody change.
What Washington parents cannot do is revise their own co-parenting or child support plans without obtaining the court's permission. Parents may agree to a change, but they must seek the court's approval for any plan that differs from the terms of an existing court order. If a parent is unsure whether he or she can request a modification, a family law attorney can review his or her case and provide guidance.