What You Need to Know About Child Support Termination in Washington State

Child support can become costly, and parties may decide to end it. Here’s everything you need to know about child support termination in Washington state.

Child support in Washington state automatically ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Washington state offers alternatives for ending child support, like terminating parental rights and visitation rights. To avoid losing parental rights, parties can file to modify child support instead.

Child Support in Washington State

Washington state child support laws assume both parents should support their minor children. While both parents can agree to waive child support, they rarely do because a Washington state court must approve of the agreement.

A parent pays Washington state-ordered child support through the Washington State Child Support Registry in Olympia, Washington. The Registry keeps a detailed record of all payments, which can help in future payment disputes. The court may order one parent to pay the other parent directly, which is uncommon.

Child Support Expenses in Washington State

Parents must provide financial support to their children to cover basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Washington state may order parties to pay additional expenses basic child support does not cover.

Additional expenses may include:

  • After-school expenses,
  • Daycare costs,
  • Extra-curricular activities,
  • Healthcare expenses, and
  • Private school costs.

Washington state divides additional expenses between parents based on their respective incomes.

Related: Washington Child Support Laws

Calculating Child Support in Washington State

Washington state calculates child support according to each parent’s income. When both parents have full-time employment, child support calculations become straightforward. The calculations get more complicated when a parent works part-time, is voluntarily unemployed, or under-employed. A Washington state judge may use full-time income figures in these scenarios, even if the parent is not earning full-time pay.

Parties can click here to estimate their child support payment.

Once a Washington state judge determines the child support amount, the court enters and finalizes an Order of Child Support.

Automatic Termination of Child Support in Washington State

In Washington state, child support automatically ends when the receiving child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. A child support order should set a termination date so both parents understand the extent of their support obligations.

Terminating Child Support in Washington State

To eliminate child support, parties can elect to terminate their parental rights. Parties should consider the consequences before terminating their parental rights, such as losing visitation rights or involvement in the child’s life decisions.

Related: My Child’s Father Wants Custody to Avoid Child Support

Child Support Reduction in Washington State

Parties may reduce or eliminate their child support payments if they can prove extreme financial hardship.

  • Financial hardship may include:
  • Sudden job loss
  • Serious illness

If financial hardship occurs, the court may award a payment reduction so the party can continue to pay child support.

Modifying Child Support in Washington State

Parties can modify child support in Washington state if:

  • They have an order from a Washington Court, and
  • Either parent or the child lives in Washington.

Parties can file a Motion to Adjust Support in a Washington state court if they have followed the instructions in paragraph 13 of their support order but disagree with the other parent.

Parties can also file a Motion to Adjust Support if two years pass since the court issued their support order and:

  • One parent’s income has changed since, or
  • The standards for calculating support have changed.

A motion to adjust is more efficient than filing a new case. A Washington court can determine a modification in a shorter period with less paperwork.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Child Support Termination Washington, get connected to an attorney with one of our Child Support Attorneys in Washington today!