Many people think establishing child support is going to be a nightmare. You think this is going to be the thing that causes the most friction between you and your ex. You do not know how you are going to ever get them to pay. You do not know how much money they make. Where do you even start?
You download the forms online from some website and it makes no sense. You think getting an attorney is going to make things worse and won’t get you anywhere but to fighting. You may give up and think you do not need support or that the old child support order you have from ten years ago has to be good enough, even though your kids are now teens, and you need more help financially.
What you may not realize is that establishing child support is one of the more streamlined processes in Washington family law. Child support follows a statutory formula that is based on the parties income, the county the children live in, and the age of the children. There are certain allowable deductions for retirement contributions, the portion of a medical premium paid for the children, and potentially other deductions.
There is also allowable deduction for tax, and after all of the deductions you get to what are the respective net incomes for the parties in the child support case. All of this can sound extremely overwhelming but to your legal team, it is second nature, and we speak this language. You might be wondering how we know how much money anyone makes? The answer there is that in King County, the parties are required to provide certain financial documents to each other when establishing or adjusting child support, so this allows insight into finances that you might have thought you would never get if your former spouse were being secretive with finances.
Child support covers goods and services like food, shelter, life necessities, and essentially curricular expenses. What many people do not realize is that child support is a basic transfer payment from one parent to the other, but there is also a proportional share ratio that comes with a child support calculation. This proportional share ratio is extremely important because it dictates who will pay how much of other out-of-pocket expenses like out-of-pocket healthcare including copayments and deductibles, work related childcare, extracurricular activities, and any other agreed-upon expenses. You might think that you are stuck paying the entirety of your children’s expenses and may have a spouse that says “child support covers that,“ but that is not the full story.
It is important to know that accomplishing the establishment of child support, adjustment of child support, or modification of child support, are all different and have different requirements for when you can move forward with them, but they are all fairly straightforward to accomplish with legal health. They can be overwhelming on your own, but knowledge is power. Meet with a lawyer, find out what your options are about child support, what you may want to do moving forward, and get the help and support for your family you need!