Child Support

Washington Child Support Basics

While some areas of family law are vague or complex, child support is relatively easy to understand and straightforward. It’s calculated with a formula issued by the state, which takes into account each parent’s monthly income and the amount of children that need to be supported.

Because child support is based on a formula, if parents agree on their monthly incomes it can be quickly determined. Afterwards, payment logistics such as how to make payments (check, direct deposit, or through the state) can be worked out.

Sometimes parents can’t agree on a child support amount. This can happen when a child support order is first issued or years later if there is a change in circumstances. Disputes over child support typically focus on what earnings should be included as income, whether a parent’s income matches their earning potential and if any deviations should apply, which would reduce the amount.

For example, income from a second job can be a point of contention. If you work two jobs, you may be able to exclude income from one if you work more than 40 hours and the second job is only temporary. Similarly, if you have a child from a previous relationship you could request the “Whole Family Deviation,” which would lower the amount you’re obligated to pay because you are already paying support for your other child.

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Common questions about Child Support

What is the rationale behind child support?
How much is child support in Washington?
How do i determine my gross monthly income for child support?
What do I do if my spouse isn't working?
What should I deduct in order to find my net income?
How do I determine the total obligation using the Child Support Economic Table?
How do I determine my proportional share for child support?
Who actually pays the child support if we both have a proportional share?
Does the basic child support amount cover all child related payments?
Is child support taxable?
Why is child support considered tax neutral?
How does child support work if you are unemployed?
How does child support work if you are underemployed?
When does child support end in Washington State?
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