Seattle-Area Child Support Lawyers

In Washington state, the court is required to enter an order on support in every action where the court issues a parenting plan or a residential schedule. Support is intended to benefit the child, and parents are not permitted to contract away a child’s right to support. Parents may not exchange the right to receive child maintenance for other financial concessions in a divorce action. Courts will not accept support orders where the parents have agreed to deviate from the statutorily required amount of support unless the reason for the deviation is stated in the order and is permitted by law.

At V. Freitas Law, PLLC, our attorneys can help you navigate child support and all other aspects of your custody case. We have been providing skilled legal representation in the Seattle area since 1991.

Child Support Is Based On Income, But It Can Get Complicated

Many people believe that they will not have to pay child support if they have joint custody or an equal parenting plan. That is not the case. If one parent earns more than the other parent, then the higher-earning parent will likely be required to pay child support to the other parent.

Child support is supposed to be straightforward and based upon earnings. Sometimes, earnings can be difficult to determine, especially when one parent owns their own business and does not receive a pay stub that clearly states their income. There are many ways to determine income in more complicated cases. The court will not necessarily rely on tax returns to determine income because some deductions from income exist only on paper and do not actually reduce a parent’s available funds to pay the support. The court will require the parties to submit bank statements, tax returns and pay stubs to establish their income for the amount of support.

More Nuances To Child Support In Washington

Child support is closely governed by statute and is set out in a schedule. The amount of support required for a particular child is determined by the number of children in the household and the parent’s combined net income. Each parent is responsible for paying a percentage of the required support based upon their net income. If a parent does not have any income, then income will be imputed to them based upon the average salary of a man or woman in their age group, or based upon their recent earnings history. A support worksheet then takes into account other expenses each parent pays for the child, including health insurance, day care expenses, etc., to reach a final transfer that one parent will pay to the other. The parent receiving support is the parent who has the child the majority of the time.

The court may grant deviations, or changes, to the amount of support if the children begin spending a significant amount of time in the paying parent’s home. The court has the discretion to decide whether or not to grant a request for a deviation. If the court does allow a deviation, then the court will apply a formula that considers the number of overnights the children spend in the paying parent’s household to reduce the amount of child maintenance the paying parent must pay each month.

Child Support FAQs

Among the typical questions in child support cases are:

How do I go about getting the ball rolling on filing paperwork?

Check with the courts to see what needs to be filled out, what the timetable is for doing that, and what you may or may not be entitled to from the child’s other parent.

Are there financial limits as to how much my children (and I) are entitled to?

This matter is usually determined by looking at how much income the other parent has. It will also depend on the age of your children. Be sure to provide your family law attorney with any and all pertinent information regarding your finances and those that you know of with the other parent.

Can the other parent’s wages be garnished?

Yes. Talk to our lawyers about specifics.

Can the other parent be held responsible for backdated child support?

That is a possibility in paternity cases, as well as in cases where there is an order of support in place, but the other parent has not been paying the ordered support. Otherwise, the court only has jurisdiction to order support back until the date the petition was filed. Once again, be sure to be as up-to-date and accurate as possible in reporting all the pertinent financial records.

Discuss Your Child Support Questions With A Skilled Attorney

Child support is complicated and requires the assistance of an experienced attorney, especially when income is not straightforward. Once entered, a child support order can be modified every two years or adjusted annually.

As you try to navigate your way through the sometimes difficult world of understanding child support, be sure to get legal help in Seattle to stand by your side. Give us a call or contact us online or call 206-536-2875.