Child Support in Washington State
Vancouver WA | Camas WA | Battle Ground WA
After a divorce or separation, the Washington Child Support Schedule will be used as a framework for determining how much financial support any children should receive from each parent. Although the court has the discretion to modify the final Child Support Order, the governing statutes will be used to initially establish the amount required to provide for basic needs. One parent typically makes payments to the other parent.
How Child Support Is Determined
Support payments should be used only for the children instead of as a way to punish the other party or obtain additional alimony. To ensure the proper care of the children involved, the Washington State Legislature has created pre-established calculations that take into consideration the financial circumstances of both parents and the needs of the children. The court will review the income, assets and liabilities of both parents. Expenses related to the children’s needs may include:
- Educational expenses
- Health care costs
Once these criteria have been established, the court may adjust the standard table formulas to arrive at the final support transfer payment. This payment can be adjusted if family or financial circumstances change.
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Changing a Support Order
Life changes may make it necessary to petition the court to modify an existing support agreement. The previous calculations used to compute the support payment might no longer be valid. Changes that could result in a modification include:
- The loss of a job or income
- Expenses like day care may no longer be required
- Educational or health care costs have dropped
- The child has reached age 18
While a modification may seem warranted, the payment must still meet the needs of the children. Some changes may warrant an increase in the support amount. These include a promotion or significant increase in salary or the need to meet additional expenses, such as college costs. As a result, a parent considering modifying a support agreement should seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney.
Seek Legal Advice
An experienced attorney can help determine the amount of child support that the court might initially award. Once a support order has been established, a knowledgeable lawyer can assist in seeking an adjustment, modification or termination if appropriate. It is important to consult an attorney before taking any action that deviates from the plan approved by the court even if the circumstances of the parents or the child have changed.
Give us a call today at (360) 601-6355 for a consultation.