Your Local Tacoma Attorneys

How Is Child Support Calculated in Washington?

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2019 | Family Law

Child support laws in Tacoma, Washington are implemented by the Child Support Services Division of the Attorney General’s Office. Like the other states, Washington sets general child support payment guidelines from non-custodial to custodial parents. Child support orders usually occur in most final divorce decrees.

  • If you need help for child custody and support issues or a divorce case, contact a Tacoma Divorce Attorney today.

Child Support Guidelines in Washington State

Washington state child support guidelines consider several factors such as:

  •  The income of every parent
  • Whether one party is asking for alimony
  • Healthcare insurance and other medical expenses
  • The receipt of social security or veteran’s benefits, or worker’s compensation by either parent

Other factors may include:

  • Earnings from trusts or estates
  • Any gambling or lottery winnings
  • The existence of other children whom either parent is obligated to support
  • Payment of child support by one of the parties in another divorce suit

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Washington state provides an online calculator that estimates the amount of required child support when you input relevant details. However, a court is free to calculate child support according to the circumstances of every case. Courts aren’t strictly bound by the District’s guidelines.

Before using the online calculator, collect any documentation of income, insurance, expenses, and public benefits. You should also gather documents relating to any previous divorce rulings and IRS forms.

The Hearing and Decree Process

For any divorce matter involving a minor child, the court sets a hearing on child support. A judge reviews the calculation of support based on the petition for divorce. The child’s parents might give a testimony of their financial and living situation. Additionally, they may ask for a revision on the support decree according to changes in their circumstances, or calculation mistakes.

The court will give a child support order in the final ruling. From there, the noncustodial parent will have to make support payments via the state’s Child Support Services.

Payment Methods and Enforcement

Child support payments in Tacoma, Washington can be made through checks, money order, or online using an electronic debit from a bank. The Child Support Services agency processes the payments and makes direct transfers to the bank accounts of the custodial parents.

If a non-custodial parent fails to make child support payments, the Child Support Services Division might enforce the following:

  • Garnishment of wages, unemployment, or any other income
  • Filing a lien on the non-paying parent’s personal property
  • Seizure of personal property e.g., vehicle
  • Prevent the non-paying parent from applying for or renewing a passport
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court

If you’re unable to pay child support because of changes in your income or another circumstance, you should inform the court early.

We Can Help

Child support cases are complex in nature and not every parent understands how the calculations are done. It is essential to consult a qualified lawyer who knows the state laws and the process. The attorneys at Alliance Law Group are knowledgeable of child support orders, custodial matters, and divorce suits. We help people in Tacoma and other parts of Washington in such legal matters. If you need assistance on a child support case, please get in touch today at 253-300-2055.