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LFLR 14. Child Support and Spousal Maintenance Modifications and Adjustments

Local Family Law Rule

    (a) Scope of This Rule.  
        (1) This rule applies to child support and spousal maintenance adjustments that are brought independently from a petition to modify a parenting plan, or child custody or visitation order. This rule does not apply to support modifications that are based on a substantial change of circumstances if there is a pending proceeding to modify a parenting plan, or child custody or visitation order.
        (2) A child support adjustment, which merely implements a periodic adjustment clause in an Order of Child Support or is limited to the relief authorized by RCW 26.09.170(9) and (10), shall be brought on the Family Law Motions Calendar under LFLR 6. Each party must also follow LFLR 10.
        (3) In a Child Support modification proceeding, the court may grant relief limited to the scope of a child support adjustment, if the case does not meet the requirements for a modification but does meet the requirements for an adjustment.
    (b) Support Modification Proceedings.
        (1) Documents Required to Be Served and Filed
            (A) Documents Required from Petitioner. A party petitioning for modification of child support or spousal maintenance shall file and serve upon all other parties the Summons and Petition, a completed Financial Declaration, child support worksheets (if applicable), and the financial documents specified in LFLR 10. The petitioning party shall serve the other party a copy of the Order Setting Case Schedule (issued by the Clerk) with the Summons. If the existing support order was not issued by King County Superior Court, a certified copy of the order must be filed with the Petition.  
            (B) Documents Required from Responding Parties. Each responding party shall file and serve a Response to Petition, a completed Financial Declaration, child support worksheets (if applicable), and the financial documents specified in LFLR 10, by the deadline established by service of the Summons.
   (c) Motions.
        (1) Pre-trial Motions re Support-only Modifications. All pre-trial motions relating to support-only modifications, including motions to change the trial date, to permit testimony, or relating to discovery, shall be decided by the assigned judge without oral argument.  Motions shall be noted for hearing at least fourteen (14) days in advance. The procedure for such motions shall conform to LCR 7 and LFLR 6 to the extent not inconsistent with this rule.  There is no requirement to confirm such motions. Motion documents shall be filed with the Clerk and working copies shall be provided to the court pursuant to the requirements of LCR 7(b) to the extent not inconsistent with this rule. Working copies submitted in paper form must be delivered to the judge's mail room in the courthouse in which th ejudge is located.
        (2) Motions to Permit Live Testimony.   
            (A) Testimony is ordinarily in the form of declarations and affidavits. Oral argument is allowed at all trials by affidavit. A party seeking permission to present live testimony at the time of the trial by affidavit (in addition to oral argument) must file a motion with a supporting declaration setting forth the reasons why live testimony is necessary. The motion and supporting documents shall be noted, filed and served not later than the deadline set forth in the case schedule.
            (B) The supporting documents must demonstrate the extraordinary features of the case warranting live testimony. Factors which may be considered include: substantial questions of credibility on a major issue, insufficiency or inconsistency in discovery materials not correctable by further discovery, or particularly complex circumstances requiring expert testimony.
            (C) A Motion to Permit Testimony may not be entered by stipulation. If the motion is granted, a hearing will be set.
        (3) Motions for Temporary Orders. Motions for Temporary Support Orders will not ordinarily be considered in support-only modification proceedings. Exceptions may apply in exigent circumstances, such as when there has been a change in residential care, a party has requested a continuance of the trial date, or when the lack of a temporary order would substantially prejudice a party. A motion for temporary support shall be noted before the assigned judge with at least 14 calendar days' notice. There is no requirement to confirm such motions.
    (d) Method of Disposition of Support Modification Proceedings.
        (1) Trial by Affidavit. The trial of support-only modification petitions shall be heard on affidavits, declarations, pleadings, and discovery materials obtained pursuant to CR 26-37, unless the court authorizes live testimony pursuant to a motion brought under LFLR 14(c)(2) above.
        (2) Proposed Orders. The petitioning party shall provide proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, child support worksheets, and orders to the other parties and the court not later than the time of trial. The proposed orders shall not be filed with the clerk.  Working copies of the proposed orders for the judge shall be submitted pursuant to the requirements of LCR 7(b) to the extent not inconsistent with this rule. If the petitioning party is not present at trial and has not presented proposed orders, the matter may be dismissed.
        (3) Judicial Officer Presiding. Unless otherwise assigned by the court, support-only modification trials shall be heard by the judge assigned in the case schedule.
        (4) Independent Proceedings. Except as otherwise stated, Petitions for Modification of Support shall proceed as original determinations, with no threshold or adequate cause hearing required.
        (5) Arbitration. The parties may stipulate to arbitrate the issues in the petition pursuant to the state and local Mandatory Arbitration Rules. The stipulation must be in writing, in a form as prescribed by the Court. The stipulation must state whether the issues will be handled by private arbitration or will be submitted to the King County Arbitration Department for assignment of an arbitrator.  
            (A) Motions for Temporary Relief. Once an arbitrator has been appointed, all motions shall be decided by the arbitrator.
            (B) Appeals from Arbitration. Parties may file for a trial de novo per LCAR 7.1.
        (6) Trial by Affidavit Procedure. Parties shall file the originals of all documents to be considered with the Clerk. Trial by Affidavit must be confirmed by the submission of a copy of these materials either in paper form to the assigned judge's mailbox at the courthouse where the assigned judge is located or electronically through the Clerk’s e-filing system by the deadline in the case schedule. Each party to the proceeding will have a maximum of ten (10) minutes, including rebuttal, to present oral argument to the court. No new evidence may be offered at the time of trial unless stipulated by the parties or authorized by the court for good cause shown. Parties may attend the trial by telephone, provided that prior arrangements have been made with the court. A party is not obligated to attend the hearing.
        (7) Procedure on Default.  
            (A) Default Procedures. See LFLR 5(e)(7).
            (B) Failure of a responding party to be present in person or by counsel at the time of trial shall not constitute a default, as the presentation of oral argument is optional. If counsel or a pro se party is not present, the court will decide the matter based upon the working papers and the oral argument of those present.

[Adopted effective September 1, 2004; amended effective September 1, 2008; June 1, 2009; September 1, 2018; September 1, 2023.]