In Washington, simply purchasing items for your child does not typically count as a direct credit toward your child support obligations. Child support calculations are generally based on the financial resources and income of both parents rather than specific purchases made. Therefore, the court would have to pre-approve a purchase or gift to be substituted as child support.
Child support in Washington is governed by state laws and guidelines that aim to provide a fair and reasonable framework for calculating child support payments. The primary goal of child support is to ensure that the child’s basic needs are met. The non-custodial parent, or the parent with whom the child does not primarily reside, typically makes child support payments to the custodial parent.
Types of Expenses Child Support is Meant For
Child support is meant to cover the following:
Child care costs
Healthcare costs not covered by insurance
Washington uses a standard calculation method to determine child support payments, taking into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and other relevant factors. The calculation is designed to ensure a consistent and equitable approach to child support.
Even though specific purchases might not directly offset child support payments, it is still essential to maintain records of expenses related to your child. Keeping detailed records can be useful for demonstrating your commitment to your child’s well-being and for potential negotiation with the other parent.
How Can Child Support Be Paid in Washington?
Here are some common ways child support can be paid in the state:
Electronic Funds Transfer: This can involve automatic transfers from the paying parent’s bank account to the receiving parent’s account.
Money Order or Check: Parents can still make child support payments using traditional methods, such as sending money orders or checks.
Wage Garnishment: This involves deducting the child support amount directly from the non-custodial parent’s wages or income.
Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS): The DCS provides a centralized system for processing child support payments. When child support orders are established, the DCS can facilitate the collection and distribution of payments. The non-custodial parent makes payments to the DCS, which then forwards the money to the custodial parent. Payment can be made through the DCS website or by phone.
It is important to keep thorough records of all payments and communication in case any issues arise in the future.
What Should I Do if My Ex-Spouse Buys Things for My Child and Refuses to Pay Child Support?
If direct communication does not resolve the issue, you can reach out to the Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS). They are responsible for enforcing child support orders and can help you take appropriate legal steps. You can contact DCS to open a case and request assistance enforcing the child support order.
If your ex-spouse continues to refuse payment despite a court order, you can file a motion for contempt of court. This means your ex-spouse is not complying with a court order, and the court can take legal action to enforce the order, which might include penalties or even jail time. Washington has several enforcement methods in place to collect overdue child support. These methods include wage garnishment, intercepting tax refunds, suspending licenses (such as driver’s or professional licenses), and placing liens on property.