Spokane Child Support Lawyer
When it comes to questions of child custody and visitation in Spokane, courts have a large amount of discretion in making decisions, but this is not the case with child support. Washington statutes establish detailed and complex methods of calculating how much support a parent should pay.
These child support schedules apply not only in divorce proceedings but also in paternity cases or in situations where one parent seeks to relocate or modify a previously established order of child support. It can be extremely difficult to understand and apply the complex child support guidelines without help.
If you are trying to ascertain or modify the child support applicable in your situation, a passionate family attorney can help you evaluate and understand the numbers and advocate on your behalf to help obtain a result that meets your needs. Consult a Spokane child support lawyer today to learn more. En Español.
Who is Obligated to Pay Child Support?
While state law requires both parents to support their children, generally it is assumed that the parent with whom the child resides most of the time will be spending money directly on the child’s expenses. Therefore, in most cases, it is only the non-custodial parent—the one who spends less time with the child—who must pay child support to the other parent. When trying to get someone to pay child support, it is crucial to retain the services of a Spokane child support lawyer before moving forward with any legal action.
Calculating Child Support Payments
The statutes establishing guidelines for calculating child support payments are set forth in Section 19 of Chapter 26 of the Washington code. These guidelines are intended not only to ensure support will be adequate to meet a child’s basic needs but also to ensure that the support level is commensurate with the parents’ income, resources, and standard of living.
The amount of support owed is calculated based on the parents’ incomes. Therefore, it is necessary to know the gross income of each parent, including not just salary but also dividends, interest, trust payments, pensions, and other income. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may assign an income figure it believes to be reasonable based on that parent’s work education and work experience.
From the gross income figure, deductions are made for taxes and certain other expenses like spousal support to establish a net income. The net income of both parties is then added together to create a combined net income. Washington statutes provide a schedule for calculating how much support a child should receive based on this combined income. This support amount is then allocated between the two parents based on their contributing share of that combined monthly income. For assistance in calculating payments, get in contact with a Spokane child support lawyer.
Modifications on Support Orders
During the first year after a child support order is issued or modified, it can only be modified if one party can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances such as disability or incarceration. After a year, however, the order may be modified based on a showing of hardship without requiring such a significant change in circumstances.
Sometimes after the standard calculation of child support is completed, the result can be unfair to one party. There are arguments that can be successfully raised to support modification of the support amount in such cases. In addition, either party can ask the court to modify support awards that are not serving the parties’ interests as they should.
How a Spokane Family Child Support Attorney Can Help
Because child support awards have such a large impact, it is wise to talk to an attorney experienced in this complex area of law to ensure your rights and your family’s future are fully protected. If you are dealing with any type of child support issues, contact a Spokane child support lawyer. An attorney may be able to help you get the result you desire and can help alleviate some of the legal pressures you might face during these proceedings.