The Division of Child Support (DCS) of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services assists families in collecting child support payments from non-custodial parents using the Washington Child Support Calculator. The Washington State Department of Social & Health Services Division of Child Support (DCS) has a range of tools at its disposal to help enforce child support obligations.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Washington?
A court might require one or both parents to pay child support in Washington. Your child support award in Washington will be determined by your custody agreement and each parent’s income with the help of the Washington Child Support Calculator. Kid support is usually paid by the non-custodial parent (the parent who occupies less than 50% of the time with the child). Although the primary caregiver (the person who resides with the kid) is also liable for child maintenance, Washington child support rules presume that the primary caregiver spends a lot of money on the child regularly.
Using the Washington child support calculator, you may determine your portion of the support. The child maintenance timeline is based on state child support rules in Washington. Based on the parents’ combined income, the number of children, and the children’s ages, you may calculate your child support obligation.
Parents must, nevertheless, fund extra expenditures in addition to the minimum assistance provided by the schedule. Both parents must split the cost of childcare and other expenses, such as those associated with the child’s schooling or visitation trips. A court may also order one or both parents to pay for the child’s medical treatment. This might range from simple dental insurance to pharmaceutical compensation.
Parents may agree to pay more than the Washington child support guideline amount, but they cannot pay less unless a judge determines that it is in the best interests of the kid. In any case, the ultimate child support amount must be approved by the government. A court may adjust alimony payments up or down based on each parent’s needs and the self-interests of the child.
Washington’s Child Support Guidelines
The Washington Child Support Schedule is available on the state legislature’s website. To calculate child support, put both parents’ net incomes together (in other words, add your operating earnings to the other parent’s net income). This total is subsequently shared equally between the parents in accordance with their individual contributions to the combined income.
Consider the following scenario: Parent A and Parent B have a kid together with a joint salary of $1,000. They must pay a total of $220 in child support every month, according to the child support schedule. Parent A will pay 60 percent of total child support, or $132 per month if he or she provides 60% of the combined income (or $600 per month). Parent B, who earns 40% of the total income (or $400), will pay just 40% of the child support, or $88 per month.
The lowest combined income on the schedule is $1,000. If the parents’ total income is less than this amount, a court will consider the finances and living expenditures of each family to determine a reasonable payment. The minimal amount of monthly assistance is $50. Unless there is a compelling cause – such as considerable wealth – for a higher percentage, the limit is 45 percent of a parent’s net income.
Calculating Parents’ Income for Child Support
You’ll need both parents’ gross and net salaries to calculate child support using the Washington child support calculator. The gross income of a parent is the total amount of money earned from all sources. Salary, earnings, bonuses, commissions, pensions, severance pay, and military pay all count against your gross income. It can also be dividends, interest, royalties, or money from a trust. If a parent receives social security, workers’ compensation, unemployment, or disability benefits, he or she may have income for child support reasons. Veterans’ benefits can potentially be a source of income.
Parents can’t avoid paying child support if they don’t want to. A deadbeat parent who refuses to work in order to avoid paying child support will be held responsible for a portion of the joint income. A court can impute—or assign—income to a parent who is voluntarily jobless or underemployed depending on the parent’s employment history, education, health, and age, among other things.
Gifts, rewards, food stamps, and alimony obtained from another relationship are all examples of advantages that might be excluded from gross income estimates. The income of the new spouse should be subtracted if either parent has married someone else.
Once you know both parents’ gross salaries, you may subtract them to get their net incomes. Gross income is reduced by state and federal income taxes, FICA payments, and previously paid court-ordered assistance (such as spousal support or child support from another case). A parent’s gross income might also be reduced by such defined contribution pension payments, dues, and company expenditures.
Challenging a Washington Child Support Award
The guideline support amount might be unjust to a parent or a kid on rare occasions. Before child support, the order is issued, any parent can request that the amount of support be adjusted. In that situation, a court will consider a comprehensive list of criteria before increasing or decreasing child support payments. These elements include:
- A new spouse’s, domestic partner’s, or other adult’s (s) in the household’s income.
- Child support from other relationships.
- Gifts, prizes, and other wealth.
- Extraordinary income of a child.
- Bonuses and overtime compensation are examples of nonrecurring income.
- Debt and taxes
- The disparity in the expense of living between the parents.
- Specific demands of a handicapped kid
- The time a child spends with each parent.
- Children from other relationships.
Modifying Child Support in Washington
A child support order continues to operate until the kid reaches the age of 18 or is liberated. If a child has impairments or unusual circumstances, your order may extend child support beyond his or her 18th birthday. A child support order can be modified or changed by either parent.
If the order was issued or amended less than a year ago, you’d need to prove a significant period of adjustment, such as a job loss, a new baby, or a medical emergency, to justify a change in support. A paying parent’s voluntary turnover or lack of job opportunities, on the other hand, is not a significant shift in circumstances in and of itself; there must be a valid explanation why this parent is functioning less or not at all.
You don’t need to establish a significant change in circumstances after the order has been in effect for a year. Instead, if following the conditions of the order has resulted in extreme financial hardship for either parent or the child, the court might increase or lower the amount of support. The Washington Division of Child Support website has further information on how to amend a child support order.
Paying Taxes on Child Support
Child support is not deductible as income, and parents who obtain it on behalf of children are not obligated to report it. The child tax credit or the dependent exemption is more likely to be held by the custodial parent. In rare cases, parents can divide the dependent deduction, with one claiming it in odd years and the other in even years.
Enforcing Child Support Orders in Washington
A parent who does not pay the child support computed using the Washington Child Support Calculator is breaking the law. That means if a parent fails to pay child support, his or her earnings may be garnished, tax refunds may be seized, and other legal and financial penalties may be imposed.
What About Support for Children Over Twelve?
Children between the ages of twelve and eighteen are unaffected by the new child support economic table. Child support rates for this age group have remained stable. The most recent amendments aimed to standardize child support payments are based on the family’s net household income and the number of children.
According to current legislation in Washington, each parent’s earnings will be rigorously examined, and the proper standardized amount will be allocated based on that net income and the percentage of time the children spend with each parent. If there isn’t a 50/50 custody agreement, this formula is developed to properly evaluate what each parent will spend depending on the time they spend with the children.
What if I am in jail or prison?
If you work in the correctional business, at least 15% of your gross pay goes to child support. (If you’re in a Class I employment program, this isn’t the case.)
Your child support obligation might also be based on any other money, assets, or property you hold while in jail or prison.
Is there a limit to the amount of support I should pay?
Yes. All of your biological children should get no more than 45 percent of your net income in support. A proportional part is due to each kid. This only applies to the children involved in the court case.
The court has the authority to disregard this restriction. It can assess if this limit would allow the custodial parent to satisfy the children’s basic requirements, as well as whether there are any forced restrictions on your earning potential.