Family Law Attorneys Providing Experienced Representation for Divorces and Other Child Support Matters
Serving the Areas of University Place, Bonney Lake, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, and Puyallup, Washington
In Washington, divorced and separated parents’ child support obligations are calculated based upon a statutory formula. In fact, the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has even published an online child support calculator that parents can use to estimate their child support payments.
However, calculating child support in Washington is not as easy as it sounds. If you click on the link above, you will see that accurately calculating child support requires access to numerous key pieces of information – many of which may be solely in the hands of your soon-to-be-former spouse or domestic partner. As a result, in order to ensure that you receive the child support payments to which you are entitled (or that you pay no more than is legally required), it is important that you have an experienced family lawyer on your side.
Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. | Experienced Family Lawyers on Your Side
At Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S., we bring decades of experience to representing parents in divorces and other child support matters in Washington. For more than 30 years, our divorce and family law attorneys have been representing clients in contested divorces and other proceedings involving the establishment, enforcement, and modification of child support payment obligations. We can help make sure that you have all of the information you need to accurately calculate child support, and we will work closely with you to ensure that you feel confident in your child support award.
Calculating Child Support: Income and Expenses
Income Considered When Calculating Child Support
In Washington, child support calculations focus on two primary factors: (i) the parents’ incomes, and (ii) the children’s needs. On the income side, this includes virtually all income sources of both parents. Either parent (the mother or the father) can be liable to pay child support, and one of the key questions is which spouse earns the most. Income sources that factor into child support calculations in Washington include:
- Wages or Salary
- Bonuses and Overtime Pay
- Investment Income (Interest and Dividends)
- Business Income
- Maintenance (Alimony)
- Gifts and Inheritances
- Child Support from Other Relationships
Certain payments and other liabilities can reduce parents’ respective incomes for purposes of calculating child support. For example, both parents are entitled to income deductions for:
- State and Federal Income Taxes
- Social Security and Medicare Taxes
- Self-Employment Taxes
- Union and Professional Dues
- Retirement Plan Contributions
- Qualifying Business Expenses
Expenses Covered by Child Support in Washington
In Washington, the expenses covered by child support fall into two categories: (i) “basic” expenses; and, (ii) healthcare, day care, and special child-rearing expenses.
“Basic” expenses include the costs of daily living – providing for shelter, food, clothing, shoes, and the children’s other day-to-day needs. Healthcare, day care, and special child-rearing expenses include:
- Monthly Health Insurance Premiums
- Medical Care Costs Not Covered by Health Insurance
- Day Care Costs
- Long-Distance Transportation
- Certain Educational and Other Qualifying Expenses
Expenses Not Covered by Child Support in Washington
Importantly, child support does not cover all child-related expenses. For example, if one parent wishes to travel with his or her children (consistent with the terms of the couple’s parenting plan), the costs of travel generally will not be covered by child support. The same generally goes for sports, extracurricular activities, and certain other non-necessary expenses, as well.
Another major expense that many parents are surprised to learn may not be covered by child support is higher education. Generally speaking, child support covers the costs associated with raising children through age 18 or high school graduation, whichever comes first. As a result, if parents do not specifically address college expenses when establishing child support, these expenses generally will not be accounted for in their child support order.
With respect to expenses not covered by child support, parents have a number of options for apportioning responsibility – and addressing the issue at the time of divorce, dissolution, or legal separation will typically be the best approach. While it is possible to seek support for postsecondary education following an initial support award or final divorce decree, as a practical matter parents will often face additional challenges when seeking to revisit financial issues months or years down the line.
Schedule a Child Support Consultation at Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S.
At Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S., we help our clients understand all of the issues involved in calculating child support, and we use the legal system to ensure that our clients receive appropriate child support awards. To discuss your situation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys, call (253) 272-2997 or request a confidential consultation online today.