Seattle Child Support Attorneys
Our Seattle child support lawyers understand what's at stake.
If the lives of your minor children may be altered by a separation or divorce, child support is probably one of the first things that you think about. Washington State's child support laws require all parents to provide a portion of the financial contribution necessary to support their children, whether their parents were married or simply share children from a non-marital relationship.
Our Seattle child support attorneys work diligently to quickly obtain a court order for Seattle child support that contains the most accurate child support computation, to ensure that your children receive what they need for basic necessities, and to avoid unnecessary financial hardship for parents on both sides.
How is support determined?
Every Washington State child support obligation is established by court order, to provide for your children’s essential needs, like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and school expenses. A number of financial factors play into this computation, and if each and every one of them is not accounted for, the result can be an inaccurate payment obligation, causing problems for everyone involved.
Whether you are collecting support or paying it, our experienced Seattle child support lawyers take fast action to obtain a court order with a reasonable and accurate calculation of your future payments.
With a properly-computed support order in place, your children receive a predictable amount of money to help cushion them from financial strife and the radical life altering changes involved with separating parents. An accurate payment obligation also ensures that one parent won’t be overburdened by the cost of trying to cover an unfairly high share of the children’s requirements.
In our opinion, an Order of Support should not be used to punish the paying parent, nor should they leave a residential parent to face extreme financial adversity in caring for children.
Obtaining an Order of Support.
When it’s time to obtain a court order for support, we can help you navigate the often complex Seattle Family Court system. If your case involves divorce, our experienced Seattle child support lawyers can make sure that you have a child support order in hand, shortly after you file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that begins your Seattle divorce court case.
If parents of the affected children were not married, we are equally at ease with seeking support from a King County Superior Court, although it could take a short while longer, depending on whether the father admits to paternity or forces the court to require genetic paternity testing to establish parentage.
The Washington State Child Support Schedule Worksheet
Although child support is calculated by entering income and expense figures into the Seattle State Child Support Schedule Worksheet, which can seem pretty straightforward, knowledgeable Seattle child support attorneys understand that the child support guidelines established by law, along with the sixty separate figures entered into the worksheet, leave plenty of room for argument.
The worksheet used in every case initially determines each parent’s net income, by deducting certain expenses from gross income. But this is not the same “net income” figure used for tax purposes because of issues such as insurance, retirement, and other potential deductions.
The combined income of both parents is applied to a chart known as the Washington Support Schedule, and the chart determines the full monthly amount that the parents should be spending, together, to support their children.
Based on each parent’s proportion of contribution to the combined income, each parent is responsible for his or her fair share of the total child support obligation. The payor parent must then make a monthly payment to the other parent (although this amount is can be broken up into weekly or bi-weekly payments).
Can we simply "agree"?
Parents can also attempt to "agree" on a support payment. But there should be some basis in the Washington State Support Schedule to support it, and it must be approved by the court. An Order of Support can also be used to address issues of educational expenses, health insurance, child care costs, and other financial issues relating to the children.
We can utilize this flexibility to find the best child support solution for parents with unusual financial circumstances or those interested in unique custody arrangements, like shared parenting plans.
Even when parents seemingly "agree" on an appropriate support payment unexpected disagreements can crop up over the figures used in the child support calculation, like the amount of income to include (especially for parents who are self-employed) or the validity of a requested deduction, among many others.
Modifying child support.
When circumstances change after an Order of support has been set, we can provide reliable advice on when and how to seek a modification of your Order of Support. Modifying an Order of support can be complicated. They key is have your facts and figures straight. Bringing a frivolous motion to modify is a waste of time and benefits no one. We can help you to understand if you have a valid basis.
We can help if there has been a "substantial change" of circumstances or if two years have elapsed since your order was entered. For example, if you believe that the support obligation should be raised because a parent’s income has gone up, this may be a valid basis. Or, if one of the parties loses their job this may be also be valid grounds for a modification.
Call our firm today, Our Seattle child support lawyers know how to handle any issue that you may be facing.