All parents have a duty to care for their children both emotionally and financially. Non-custodial parents, therefore, are required by the state of Washington to pay their fair share to meet their children’s basic needs, including housing, utilities, clothing, food, medical care, daycare, and more. If you are a parent with a child support case, legal support is vital.
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Our family law attorneys have nearly 40 years of experience in handling all types of family matters.
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Contact Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with a Spokane child support attorney.
Washington’s Child Support Laws
Both parents are responsible for child support and contributing to the raising of their child. When calculating the amount of child support that is owed, the child support guidelines in Washington heavily rely on an economic table called an income shares model, which considers both parents’ income. Under this model, the percentage of support owed by each parent is correlated to their own amount of income. For instance, a parent will owe 60 percent of the child support when their income accounts for 60 percent of the total combined income of both parents. Although both parents are responsible for support, it is already assumed that custodial parents are spending their portion of the child support on their child, as they are the primary caregiver. For that reason, only the noncustodial parent is required to make child support payments to the custodial parent.
Child Support Matters In Washington State
Child support is generally paid on a monthly basis to the custodial parent. The amount of financial support is determined by the court based on the Washington State Support Schedule. This is a standardized schedule based on the gross incomes of the parents.
Other important factors are used as well in the calculation including:
The number of and ages of the children involved
Applicable deductions, such as taxes, union dues, Social Security, Medicare, and pension contributions
Income of your current spouse or live-in partner
The number of children you support overall
Other children your current spouse or live-in partner supports
Sometimes courts will deviate from the standard amount determined due to other factors. For instance, if the non-custodial parent spends substantial residential time with the child, the support liability may be reduced. On the other hand, if the non-custodial parent spends little or no residential time with a child, he or she may have to pay more.
Child Support Modification
When there is a significant change in circumstances following a divorce, parents have the ability to request a child support modification from the court. Situations that may call for such a request, include:
Significant change in how much time each parent spends with a child.
Change in one parent’s income, either less or more.
Change in medical costs of a child, for example, due to a serious illness.
A parent has since had another child.
Change in childcare costs or costs for education.
One parent has been incarcerated.
Any change that affects any of the factors used to calculate child support.
The court must approve any modification made to the amount of child support being paid. Failing to gain approval by the court can lead to a contempt action. Child support will likely be required to continue until a child reaches the age of 18 or once the child graduates from high school, whichever comes first. However, if a child is disabled, child support payments for that child may continue for longer, as determined by a court.
Enforcement of Child Support Orders
A parent that fails to pay court-ordered child support may face a child support contempt action. The custodial parent can file a petition asking for a contempt hearing. Upon being informed about a parent’s failure to meet his or her child support obligation, the court will calculate the amount of outstanding child support payments. It will then be determined as to what the best option is for enforcing and collecting those payments.
There are a wide range of enforcement opportunities that may help a parent get the money they need to raise their child. In some cases, a court may order the delinquent parent to serve jail time for a gross failure to pay child support, and they can be held until they pay all or part of what is owed. In many instances, people have suddenly found the means to pay what they owe in order to get out from behind bars. There are also less severe methods that a court may use to force a parent to pay, such as authorizing a wage garnishment or the garnishment of some other benefits (like unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits). To navigate this process of enforcement of child support orders, having an experienced attorney at your side to help you will be key to resolving the child support matter as favorably and efficiently as possible.
Dedicated & Seasoned Legal Help From Our Spokane Child Support Lawyers
Whether you are a parent seeking child support payments or a non-custodial parent with an issue concerning this matter, our firm has the experience and skills to help. We have built a solid track record of success in representing clients in all kinds of highly contested matters in family court. We take pride in our reputation for effective legal service which includes extensive trial experience. Our client-centered team is focused on getting the favorable results you seek, and we will always strive to resolve your legal matter as efficiently and smoothly as possible.