Child Support

Child Support Attorneys Abi Hernandez and Kawika Kaulukukui.

The team at Wong Fleming knows that a wide range of factors go into child support calculations and decisions. We’re here to look at the unique circumstances facing your family and advocate for you.

How Child Support is Calculated in Washington

In Washington, child support is calculated using a formula that considers several factors, including the number and ages of the children, as well as incomes of both parents. Depending on these variables, the calculated monthly child support amount can range from $200 to $3,500. Click here for the Washington child support calculator.

What is considered income? Salary, hourly wages, overtime pay, bonuses, commissions, and tips are all considered income. So is income earned from a business or royalties. You may also pay child support based on capital gains, annuities, and rental income. However, a new spouse’s assets and income do not count towards child support, nor do federal benefits or foster care payments. Net income is your gross income minus your taxes, union dues, and health insurance for the child in question. However, there is a cutoff point for households with a combined net income exceeding a specific threshold.

When the Court Deviates From Standard Calculations

In some cases, this calculation is simply a starting point. Once you have this number, you can adjust as needed based if either parent presents a valid reason to do so. Typically, these adjustments involve increases to cover specific expenses related to the children, such as the special needs of disabled children, including medical, educational, and psychological expenses. Deviations from the standard formula are relatively uncommon and generally require a clear identification of the associated costs. For instance, a reduction in the standard child support amount may be possible if the children spend equal time with both parents, particularly if the parents have similar incomes.

When Should Child Support Be Modified?

There are several situations that may call for a modification in child support. Please note, though, that your initial child support order is legally binding. You cannot simply stop paying less or demanding more because circumstances have changed. You must go through the legal process to get a new support order.

Child support modifications may be necessary if the paying parent’s income has changed substantially, if they have a huge increase in expenses, or if the parenting schedule has changed dramatically. One caveat: a payer who chooses to decrease their income cannot then expect child support to be decreased. Parents have been caught taking lower-paying jobs to avoid paying the custodial parent full child support. The court will see through this and will impute the parents income and require the paying parent to follow the court order.

What If I Haven’t Been Able to See My Child?

Paying parents are often frustrated with child support orders if they have been kept away from their child. They ask why they have to pay child support for a child they aren’t even allowed to see.

However, you cannot withhold child support because you have not been able to see your child. To protect the child’s best interests, the court views parenting time and child support as different issues. If you have been kept from your child, you must go through the proper legal channels to reclaim your parenting time. The reverse is also true—a custodial parent cannot withhold visitation because the paying parent has fallen behind on child support.

Find Out How Wong Fleming Can Help You

Calculating and understanding child support can be overwhelming, especially if your children have expensive hobbies, medical needs, or private school expenses. Make sure you have someone advocating for you every step of the way. Call Wong Fleming at 425-869-4040 to set up a time to talk to one of our skilled child support lawyers.