In Re Marriage of Morris: The father argued the post-secondary education fee shall be in excess of the basic support — required to be paid under the law.
By Christina A. Meserve and Charles E. Szurszewski
The day before her daughter’s high school graduation, Kelly Reyes filed a motion for adjustment of child support to set the parties’ obligations regarding post-secondary education. The right to petition for post-secondary support had been specifically reserved in a previous order of support.
The father argued that a request for post-secondary support must be initiated by a petition for modification and not through a motion for adjustment. The commissioner agreed, the trial court on revision reversed, and the Court of Appeals concluded that the distinction between a motion and petition was harmless error. The court did note that a post-secondary support request should be made via a petition for modification.
In some counties, including apparently King County, the use of one form over another is significant. In other counties, however, a petition for modification and a motion for adjustment are heard on the same calendar using the same procedures. See, for example, Thurston County LSPR 94.03B(a)(2) and LSPR 94.03B(d)(4).
One issue that the father argued was that the amount of his contribution to post-secondary education would be higher than the amount of basic support he would be required to pay under the economic table. The Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court’s allocation of post-secondary education expenses between the parties was appropriate.
Christina A. Meserve and Charles E. Szurszewski practice family law in Olympia, Washington with the law firm of Connolly Tacon & Meserve.