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Washington readers may be familiar with the case of a man that failed to pay his court ordered child support for more than a decade. He was arrested late last year as he re-entered the country from another country to which he had fled in a continuing attempt to avoid child support payments. Recently, he pleaded guilty to the failure to pay and attempting to avoid the obligation.

Many readers in Washington are well aware that child support payments are mandatory unless they are changed by court order. When parents separate, a standard state schedule is typically used to determine exactly how much child support is owed by the non-custodial parent. The calculations are based on factors that include the income of the parents and the number of children in a family.

The man and his former wife made a high income through his business as a car-auction owner. At the time of their divorce in 1995, the man was ordered to pay $750 per week in child support for his children. This amount was later raised to $995 per week. He paid a total of $87,000 before leaving the country to avoid making additional payments.

Like people in Washington who are subject to a court ordered child support obligation, this man was unable to forgo making the required payments to the custodial parent of his children without seeking a modification through the court. Because he failed to take this necessary step, he faced penalties and jail time for avoiding his obligation. When a person in our state finds that they are in a similar situation, they may find it helpful to review the applicable laws as they work to make child support payments. For those struggling to keep up with their payments, it is possible to apply for a downward modification of future support payments based upon a showing of a substantial change in financial circumstances.