Using Trial by Affidavits to Modify Support

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Using Trial by Affidavits to Modify Support
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 6/17/2024


Navigating post-divorce modifications for support can be daunting. However, in King County, the process can be made simpler by utilizing a "Trial by Affidavit." This is the primary method for modifying contested support requests. It allows parties to modify child support and spousal support orders without the need for a full court trial, making it a cost-effective and less time-consuming option.

What is Trial by Affidavit?

A Trial by Affidavit, under Local Family Law Rule (LFLR) 14(d), permits parties to present their evidence through written statements (affidavits) rather than live testimony in court. This can be particularly advantageous in support modification cases where the facts are straightforward and often do not require extensive cross-examination of witnesses. While testimony may be allowed by request, it is not the norm.

Modifying Child Support and Spousal Support

Modifying child support and spousal support still requires a specific legal basis to pass muster. In most circumstances, there must be a substantial change in the circumstances to overcome the required burdens. If the child support modification request is complicated, relies on more than just an income change, or is requested prior to a year after the original order, a Trial by Affidavit may be required.

Similarly, modifications to spousal support can be pursued through a Trial by Affidavit. This is useful when there are substantial changes in either party’s financial situation or needs. For example, if the recipient of spousal support gains significant employment or if the payer retires, these changes can be documented in affidavits and submitted for court review.

Post-Secondary Education Child Care Costs

A unique aspect of child support in Washington is the consideration of post-secondary education costs. Often, during the initial divorce proceedings, the court may reserve the issue of post-secondary education support for a later date. When the time comes to address these costs, a Trial by Affidavit can be used to present necessary evidence to obtain a court order. This includes detailing the costs associated with the child’s education, the financial ability of each parent to contribute, and any other relevant factors.

Alternative: Motion for Adjustment of Child Support

In cases where it has been more than two years since the last child support order and the only significant change is in the income of the parties, filing a Motion for Adjustment of Child Support may be more appropriate. This process is typically less complex than a full modification and can be a quicker way to adjust support based on current income levels.

Speak with an Attorney Today

Using a Trial by Affidavit for support modification can streamline the process and reduce the emotional and financial strain often associated with court proceedings. Whether you are seeking to modify child support, spousal support, or address post-secondary education costs, this method offers an effective solution within the King County legal framework. However, it is essential to understand the specifics of your case and consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to ensure that all procedures are correctly followed and that your affidavit includes all necessary information to support your request.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your support modification case, call the experienced litigators at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell PS today for a free case evaluation. 425-800-0572

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