When you’re entering divorce arrangements in Washington State, if there are children involved, coming up with an agreement that works out in their best interest has to be a top priority. If you’ve already reviewed some of the basics, you know that there are common factors that will be considered when determining child support. These include the needs of the children, monthly income, and deductions for both parents.
Although state law has the formula to compute for the monthly child support obligation, allowances will be made for situations that can hinder your ability to pay. A local lawyer with intimate knowledge of the details can present the best case for you. Work closely with your family attorney in Lynnwood or Kent, for example, and you can argue for an adjustment based on the following scenarios.
Changes to income
Basic child support computation can include non-guaranteed income, such as bonuses, overtime payments, or other incentives. Even if you took on a short-term contract, if it was in effect at the time of computation, that income will be factored into the standard obligation. In the long term, your actual income can be lower as these benefits may be reduced or no longer available. A statement from your employer will be used to justify a review of non-recurring income and a possible deviation from the initial child support calculation.
The standard allocation for child support in Washington doesn’t cover the cost of expenses for health care, daycare, tuition, and transportation. It is stated that the parents will share such expenses in the same proportion as the basic support obligation. However, if one or more of your children have special needs – due to disability or a medical condition, for instance – the court may consider a deviation. Make sure you can furnish the requisite medical documents and receipts.
Should you also have children from other relationships; this can stretch your financial capabilities enough to argue for a different computation. The court will have to review the total circumstances of both households, including your partner’s income and existing support arrangements received by your other children. Note that only children to whom you legally owe support will be considered relevant in this regard.
When you are paying child support, but also receive a considerable amount of visitation hours or have a split custody arrangement, you may be spending more on your children as a result of the extra time. If you can provide evidence of the residential schedule as well as added expenditure, you may be granted an adjustment to your child support obligations.
New spouse or partner:
If you have a new spouse or partner – or otherwise enter into living arrangements with an adult who may bring another source of income into the picture – that alone doesn’t warrant a deviation from standard support calculations. But it’s still a key factor to keep in mind, because any income added in this manner will be considered should other situations arise.
Many other factors can play a part as you try to agree to monthly child support obligations. Ultimately, you need to find the right balance between providing for all the needs of your children and what you can pay consistently.