If you’re getting divorced and you have one or more minor children, chances are a child support order will be part of your divorce settlement. Unlike other parts of your divorce settlement, like your parenting plan and property division, you don’t have the leeway to negotiate your child support order with your spouse. However, with the help of one of our Tacoma child support lawyers, you will have the means of securing a settlement that is fair and equitable.
Washington’s Child Support Formula
In Washington, the court determines an amount for your child support order based on its child support formula. The parent with whom the children spend more than 50 percent of their time is known as the custodial parent. The other parent, the non-custodial parent, is the one required to pay child support to the custodial parent. The formula for calculating child support works as follows:
- First, the court determines the parents’ combined net monthly income. It then determines the percentage each parent contributes to that total;
- Using the state’s child support schedule, it determines how much money a family of that size should be spending on its children each month; and
- The court applies the non-custodial parent’s percentage of the combined monthly income to the figure for the family size. This is the child support amount he or she must pay.
Although the court determines the exact amount a parent will pay, parents can estimate their child support payments on the Division of Child Support website. Our child support attorneys in Tacoma can also help you to discover what you need during the process.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Child support payments help the custodial parent offset the costs of raising a child. These can be any cost that comes with having children, like needing a bigger car and more fuel for it, having to live in a bigger house or apartment, and all the children’s school-related expenses like school supplies, lunch money, and extracurricular costs. It can also be used to pay for youth sports, summer camps, and toys and other entertainment. The court doesn’t track how child support is spent, but it can come after a parent who’s delinquent on his or her payments and hold him or her in contempt of court. If you don’t pay your child support, you can face fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension. Parents who are concerned about either child support after it has been decided by the court should consult with a child support law at Alliance Law Group in Tacoma.
Modifying a Child Support Order
Once a child support order has been in place for a year or longer, either parent can ask the court to modify the child support amount to reflect their current income and family’s needs. If it’s been less than a year and you want to change your child support order, you’ll need to show that you’ve faced a substantial change in circumstances, like losing a job or getting hit with a big medical bill after an accident.
Work with an Experienced Tacoma Child Support Lawyer
When you need to establish, modify, or terminate a child support order, you need to work with an experienced child support and family law attorney in Tacoma. Get in touch with our team at Alliance Law Group today to set up your legal consultation in our office. We’ll answer any questions you have and get the ball rolling on your child support case.