Washington Child Support

Parents have a legal duty to provide financial support to their children. When they do not live with the child’s other parent, Washington State child support orders ensure the children get the money they need for housing, clothes, food, medical care, and child care. In most cases, the court sets Spokane child support based on state laws.

If you need help obtaining child support or modifying your order in Spokane County or neighboring communities, the knowledgeable lawyers at David J. Crouse & Associates, PLLC are here to help. We can analyze your case, answer your questions, and fight for the money you need to support your child. Call our office today at (509) 624-1380 to learn more.

How can I get support from my child’s other parent?

There are two ways you can request child support in the State of Washington:

  • Petition the court; or
  • Apply through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)

The courts handle most cases, partially because they are often tied to divorces or child custody disputes. In addition, it is usually much quicker and easier to go directly to the court for a solution than to try to navigate the process through DSHS.

Why do I need a lawyer to get child support in Washington State?

Washington State has many statutes that govern who pays child support, how much they pay, and when they pay it. This makes Spokane child support cases more complex than many people realize. A knowledgeable lawyer can present the facts of your case to the court in a way that can greatly affect the support you receive or pay.

Many people who request child support are also in the middle of other legal issues. Questions about support may arise during a divorce, paternity claim, or custody dispute, or during parenting plan modifications and relocations. We have the experience and resources to represent you through these, and other family law concerns.

In addition to providing guidance through the process to receive child support, we often work with clients to receive temporary support or to modify existing child support orders. Temporary orders usually occur after one parent files a divorce or paternity action. We present your income and other related circumstances to the court, and the judge determines a temporary monthly amount of child support due from the non-custodial parent. We also create a temporary parenting plan in many of these cases.

When you need to modify a child support order, it can seem like you are starting over from scratch. Having a skillful attorney on your side can reduce this stress. Any time there is a substantial change in circumstances, we can gather all the necessary documentation to demonstrate this change and show how it affects your child support order.

What can I do if the other parent refuses to pay child support?

Once an order for child support is in place, the State of Washington expects the parent to pay the support each month on-time and in-full. If this does not happen, we can file an enforcement action with the court. The court can then order the parent to pay the support through his/her tax return, garnished wages, or other methods, or pursue contempt actions. We can fight for the back child support you deserve, and help you get the support you need in the future.

In addition to the court taking action to enforce child support orders, the Division of Child Support (DCS) may also take action. Washington State laws allow the DCS to suspend driver’s licenses, business or professional licenses, and almost any other license issued by the state. We can ask DCS to take this action if it makes sense based on the facts of your case.

How much child support can I expect to pay?

If you are the parent who will pay child support, we protect your rights and ensure you only pay what is fair. In Spokane County and surrounding areas, the amount of child support paid each month depends on the Washington State Support Schedule.

This Schedule relies primarily on the net income of each parent. In many cases, this is much more complicated than it sounds, however. The situation is more complex when one or both parents are:

  • Unemployed
  • Underemployed
  • Not reporting all income
  • Receiving irregular income, such as through commissions
  • Working overtime temporarily
  • Business owners

When any of these occur, you need a skilled lawyer who can document the proper income or potential income and argue in your favor as to why the number presented by the other party does not tell the whole story.

When will the court deviate from the Washington State Support Schedule?

The Washington State Support Schedule offers a way to determine your “basic support obligation.” However, when there are special circumstances — known as deviations — the court often increases the amount of support due.

This calculator can help you get a rough estimate of each parent’s basic support obligation under Washington State child support statutes. Remember, this is only an estimate, and a number of other factors unique to your case may result in a number that is higher or lower than this estimate.

Washington State statutes give the court the discretion to deviate from the support schedule when other factors come into play. This makes it even more important to have a Spokane child support attorney on your side. We present evidence of a client’s unique situation, and ask the judge to deviate from the traditional support schedule. In many cases, this is successful and our clients gain additional support or are able to reduce the support they pay based on the circumstances.

Some of the most common reasons we see the court deviate include:

  • Higher health care expenses for the child
  • Daycare expenses
  • A child’s special physical, emotional, or educational needs
  • The income of other adults in the household
  • Significant income disparity
  • Child support for other children
  • High assets
  • The child’s own income
  • Involuntary debt
  • Additional expenses related to the child’s education, health, or well-being
  • Additional income (e.g., from a new spouse or live-in partner)

Where can I get help with child support issues in Spokane?

The Spokane child support lawyers at David J. Crouse & Associates, PLLC understand how hard it can be to ensure your children get the financial support they need without fighting tooth and nail or scraping by month after month. If you have questions or concerns about obtaining or modifying a child support order in Spokane, call our office today at 509-624-1380.

David J. Crouse & Associates