Washington Child Support Lawyer
Determining child support can be a complex process, and both custodial and noncustodial parents can learn about child support obligations from an experienced Washington child support lawyer.
While the court follows standard guidelines in determining child support, it is also important to consider your circumstances, including the income and debts of both parents.
If you have concerns about child support, whether you are going through a divorce or are seeking a modification, a skilled child support lawyer can help.
Child Support Laws in Washington
State child support guidelines rely on an economic table that considers both parents’ income when calculating the amount of child support owed to the custodial parent. This model is called the income shares model.
Under this model, each parent owes a percentage of support in proportion to their own income. For instance, a parent whose paycheck – and other sources of income – accounts for 40 percent of the total combined parental income will owe 40 percent of the child support.
Both parents must contribute to raising their child and both owe a percentage of child support. However, the courts typically assume that the custodial parent will automatically spend this portion on raising the child, since they live together most of the time. For this reason, only the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.
Factors Courts Consider in Child Support Cases
From the baseline level of recommended child support in Washington state, the support amount can be adjusted up or down depending on certain factors, including but not limited to:
- Number of children supported from previous relationships and any child support received for those children
- Each parent’s financial situation, as well as both parties’ taxes and debts owed
- The child’s own income, if it is significant, such as if a teenager earns a substantial amount at a job
- The income of a new spouse or partner, if one parent is living with a new partner
- Whether there is a great disparity between the incomes of the parents
- Whether one parent has little income because they served as the primary caretaker and stayed at home with the children
- The extraordinary needs of a disabled child
- The portion of time the child spends with each parent
Child Support Modification
As a Washington child support lawyer may explain, the state of Washington allows for modification of child-support orders when a parent experiences a change of circumstances or if it has been at least a year since the last modification. Job loss is one common reason for child support modification, but a custodial parent could also ask for an increase in child support, due to an increase in income, such as a new job or promotion for the noncustodial parent.
Consulting a Washington Child Support Attorney
The process of determining child support can be stressful, especially during the breakup of a marriage or a relationship. In other cases, a child support order needs to be modified, due to a change in one parent’s circumstances.
Whether you are a custodial or noncustodial parent, an experienced Washington child support lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to child support.