Calculating child support is a complicated endeavor. While it is easy to find a child support calculator online, creating a legally accurate and acceptable agreement takes more than simply entering numbers into a website.

Every state offers parents a way to estimate their child support obligations. Parents can find numerous calculators and worksheets online that use Washington State’s guidelines in these calculations. These tools are useful because they take out much of the guesswork and calculate figures automatically. Often, all a parent needs to do is input income and expenses for each person, and these calculators will create an estimate.

While these figures can be helpful, actual child support numbers can vary widely based on a family’s particular circumstances. Judges child support based on Washington State law, which includes multiple reasons to deviate from the standard support calculation. No matter which child support calculator you use, no online program can account for a judge’s discretion.

Additionally, these calculators be affected by other costs which may need to be added to the support payment. For example, the calculators or worksheets may not take into account expenses like private school tuition, specialized health care expenses, or other miscellaneous costs which could be added into the child support payment.

The calculators may also not be accurate based on the amount of parenting time you share with your child’s other parent. If you and that person have a parenting plan which differs from the traditional schedules, the calculators may not be entirely accurate.

Because so many external factors could affect the ultimate amount of child support that you pay, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney. While online programs are fine for getting a ballpark estimate of your child support payments, an attorney can review your family’s unique situation and create a child support agreement and parenting plan that works best for your circumstances.

At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we help parents work together for the sake of their children. Using mediation, negotiation, or litigation if necessary, our knowledgeable Washington family law attorneys will take your side and help you through difficult situations.

If you would like more information about parenting plans, child support, visitation, or any other family law issue, call 360-926-9112 to schedule your appointment today.