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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I filed a petitoned for modification of Child support in WA

Customer Question

I filed a petitoned for modification of Child support in WA b/c the respondant is not incurring daycare expenses (for 2 yrs now) and I have another child from a different relationship, we had a hearing but the responsdant asked for a continuance. The next hearing date is in 4.5 weeks, in the mean time, the respondant's spouse wants to adopt the children. My question is, if I agree to this, will the start of this step parent adoption dismiss the case for modification? I am worried that if I agree to this adoption, the modification case will be dismissed (I will have to continue to pay the original child support until it's final) and then I'm worried the respondant's spouse will change their mind and cancel the adoption. Can I request some how if they change their minds that they won't contest the modification for child support or get a default for modification? Can I ask for the modification to start on the original file date (aug 2011) or will it have to be when I file it for the second time...can I file it again if it was dismiss only a couple of months prior? How will the commissioner feel if I agreed to the adoption but it didn't take place and I'm trying to petition again for a modification? Please advice, I can barely pay for child support right now, I am on public assistance, I don't live in WA and can't get free legal help through them, and I definatley can not afford an attorney.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question and for using JA. Please click accept so I will receive credit from JA for my time.

Can I ask for the modification to start on the original file date

Yes that is standard.

You need to proceed with the modification since the adoption process could easily take a year or more. You do not need to cancel just because he has agreed to adopt.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So, I can sign the paper saying I agree to the step-parent adopting my children and still go to court Nov 3 for the modification. Now, I know the respondant will tell the commissioner at the second hearing that I am agreeing to the step parent adoption, do you think the commissioner will dismiss the case, will the commissioner modify it if she knows I'm giving up rights to my children. I was told if I consent to this, the adoption could be done by the end of this year. So with knowing that, how do you think the commissioner will respond? I'm really worried the commissioner will not modify the child support, I will have to continue to pay the original child support amount until the adoption is over with but if the respondant changes their mind at the last min, then I'm really going to hurting. If this happens, can I file a modification again. Do I have to let so many months or years go by before I can file this. Should I wait to sign the adoption papers until after the modification case is done?
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
So, I can sign the paper saying I agree to the step-parent adopting my children and still go to court Nov 3 for the modification.

Yes as long as you don't agree to drop in what you sign. They might agree to a reduction in order to get you to sign and then you can enter a consent order to the court.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
what do you mean by "don't agree to drop in what you sign"?
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
If you don't sign something agreeing to drop the modification.

an accept for my time is always appreciated and required for me to receive any credit from JA
lwpat, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 25384
Experience: Practicing family law attorney
lwpat and 14 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
btw, I'm not sure how this works.. how do I pay you if I paid 38 already to justanswer?
Expert:  lwpat replied 2 years ago.
The 38 is not actually charged against your account until you accept as you have done above, thank you. You are not charged twice. You may have signed up for some type of subscription plan but I have no way of knowing.
lwpat, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 25384
Experience: Practicing family law attorney
lwpat and 14 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I thought I opted for a detailed answer and that is why I paid $38. I asked many questions and received general answers. I didn't know I could receive another answer so I accepted thinking since he answered I had to pay him (if I liked it or not & I didn't want to offend the expert). Is it still possible to get a second answer?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
You have separate issues going on here and are trying to tie them together. First, you are seeking to modify your support because of her not having child care expenses for the last 2 years and because you have another child to care for. This is something that will take place immediately if granted by the court. Second, you have a request from her to allow a step parent adoption which is completely separate from the modification. Your agreeing to the adoption has nothing to do with the modification, BUT it can be used to your advantage.

Using the adoption to your advantage means you would use the modification as a negotiation tool and you can craft the adoption agreement in a manner that benefits you by getting her to stipulate that she will agree to the modification in consideration of you agreeing to the adoption and that in the event the adoption does not take place she agrees not to rescind her agreement to your modification request and agrees not to file any new modification request for at least 3 years (the court will not uphold an agreement where she agrees to forever waive any modification as it is not in the best interests of the child).

You really should have an attorney here and if you cannot afford one you should call the state bar and ask for the pro bono attorneys in your area to assist you.


I hope you found my answer helpful, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button above for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated!

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There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.

You can always request me through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-paulmjd/ or beginning your question with “For PaulMJD…”

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The respondent received advice and was under the impression the case for modification would be dismissed if the respondent told the commissioner the petitioner is consenting to a step-parent adoption. Is this true?

 

For the previous answers I received by lwpat:

 

1. I know I can ask for the modification to start on the original file date for the current case, but what I was asking was...If the case was dismissed and I had to file it for a 2nd time, can the modification start from the date of the 1st filed modification, not the start of the 2nd modification.

 

2. I know I do not have to or need to cancel the modification myself, I do not want to anyway. I was asking, if the respondent told the commissioner at the 2nd hearing that I consented to the step parent adoption would that be grounds to dismiss the modification case or not approve the modification order?

 

3. I do not have to get their (respondent) consent to go through with this modification, I know I have legal grounds for my petition. What I wanted to know was, if I agreed to the adoption and if my petition was dismissed (not b/c I asked for it), is there a legal way or a stipulation I can add to this agreement for adoption (if they cancel) that I will resubmit the modification & it would then be entered as a default case and the respondent could not contest it for a 2nd time (so I don't have to attend another hearing). I know in adoption cases you can ask for a contact agreement so I didn't know if I could legally ask for a default in modification if they canceled the adoption process.

 

To PaulMJD:

The respondent is not wanting to owe me money for daycare expenses not incurred (I asked to be reimbursed). The respondent asked if I would consent to a step parent adoption thinking it would dismiss the case for modification. The respondent wants this case dismissed so I don't think I can use the modification as a tool. Basically, if I dismiss this or if the respondent tells the commissioner I have consented to this adoption and it gets dismissed then she will go on with the adoption. But if she cancels the adoption at the last min, I will not have a modified child support payment, I will have to continue to pay the original amount until I can afford to resubmit the modification (if I'm even allowed to). So I wasn't sure if I should sign the adoption agreement now or after the modification. If I sign now, I was just wanting to know if there is a possibility the commissioner would dismiss or not grant my modification? If I wait to sign the adoption papers after the modification has gone through, then I have a good idea she will change her mind about the adoption.

 

Basically, to sign or not to sign? which answer would cause the least grief.

 

Thank you both for your time.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
The court will not generally order actual reimbursement, they may order credit towards future support payments in these cases. The respondent may want the case dismissed, but the court will not just dismiss the modification because of the adoption request. That is why you should use it as a negotiation tool. If she cancels the adoption this is where you need to negotiate a clause or seek an order from the court that if she cancels the adoption then the modification is granted. You need to negotiation your terms before you sign anything.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
that sounds good, if I negotiate a clause or seek an order...if she agrees to this only if I cancel the modification....my question then would be, can I cancel the modification myself and how would I do that. The note has already been confirmed (nov.) or can she go to the hearing and request the case to be dismissed?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
To cancel the modification yourself you would file a motion to dismiss your modification in the court.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 90282
Experience: Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
Law Educator, Esq. and 14 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The respondent is working with JAG on the adoption and they will not talk to me. I wasn't sure how to ask or draw up a clause or seek an order if she cancels the adoption. I have been to washington law help, washington court website for forms, and used the northwest justice project for help with my modification case but I don't know if this is something I can do on my own. I know in WA you can not do any adoption yourself, there are no forms I can get on line and nothing on the pierce co website either for that. I know I do not have the money to retain a lawyer so if you can let me know if this is something I can do on my own or if there is no other choice but to have a lawyer do this, please let me know.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
WA law help will help you draft your motion to dismiss as well and they will even assist you drafting up an agreement with her on dismissing the modification in exchange with her going through with the adoption.

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