Let's face it, kids cost a lot of money. Braces, guitar lessons, football equipment, dance lessons, ballet, lacrosse, cell phones; the list is endless and expenses increase with age.
Both parents are required to financially support their children. Only one parent will have to make a payment on a monthly basis. A child support order dictates which parent pays support and other expenses, who will provide health insurance for the children, arrangements for college expenses and more. It also stipulates how long child support will be paid.
Courts use the Washington State Child Support Schedule to determine the amount of child support. This schedule considers each parent's income, the age of the children and other expenses, such as child care. A child support obligation is based on the combined family income after taxes, and the age and number of children. Child support usually ends when a child turns eighteen or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. The Court may deviate from the basic child support obligation for many reasons, but here are the most common:
- Residential schedule; less child support may be awarded if the children spend a significant amount of time with the paying parent. The Court will not reduce the child support if the children's basic needs in the supported household cannot be met due to a lack of funds.
- Income of a new spouse
- Child support received from other relationships
- Gifts (usually from family members)
- Possession of wealth (which is not included as income)
- Nonrecurring source of income
- Extraordinary debt
- Special needs of disabled children
In some cases, the court awards what is called “postsecondary educational support.” The Court will only do this if the child is dependent and relying upon the parents for the reasonable necessities of life. If awarded, the child benefitting from the support must enroll in an accredited school, actively pursue a course of study towards his or her career, and maintain good academic standing. Both parents must have access to all academic records and grades. Postsecondary support cannot be ordered beyond the child's twenty-third birthday. Timing is critical when asking the court for postsecondary support. Contact our office immediately to see if we can help secure a brighter future for your high school senior or 17 year old.
The attorneys at Elise Buie Family Law Group are here to help with all of your child support issues. We make it a priority to ensure only the most accurate and thorough information is used when calculating child support payments. We will ask for all relevant supporting documentation from you as well as the other party.
Your Family's Future is our First Priority