Washington has, as you’d expect, laws and schedules and formulas for child support. The courts publish ‘support guidelines’ that provide a baseline for statutorily required support payments. Income levels, earning potential(s), number of children, and more are factored into the court’s calculations of this figure.
Like the pirate ‘rules’ in Pirates of the Caribbean, the rules are really ‘more of a guideline.’ You can find the rules and read the child custody statutes online. They should not, and cannot, be taken literally. They are the baseline only, a place for the courts – if they have to – to start.
You will not find the final figure in the statutes or online. Attorneys for either side may recommend a deviation from the guidelines – up or down – by documenting and presenting evidence to the court. Parents can agree on child support that works for their family, if the agreement comports with WA law. If the parents cannot agree, there is an evidentiary hearing and the court will only accept recommendations after a thorough review of all available evidence.
Whether settling child support payments, seeking a child support modification, or handling a contempt for non-payment, the first thing we look at are the children’s needs and each parent’s economic situation.
This is a complex, emotionally charged area of family law that has a tendency to change rapidly, especially in this post-COVID era.
Remember, when it comes to child custody, parenting plans, and child support, lawyers must always consider the interests of the children first and foremost.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Cindy is honest, clear, and direct. She has a great sense of humor. Under the most hostile circumstances, she always held her ground, stayed present, and maintained her dignity. Cindy researches thoroughly, knows the law and argues convincingly. She is a commanding writer and very effective in court."
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