What You Need to Know About Washington Child Support FAQs
Child support is a complicated and emotional subject for divorcing couples. It is especially crucial to understand the child support laws in the parties’ respective states to avoid further complications in such difficult times. In light of this, here are a few answers to common questions related to child support obligations in the state of Washington.
How to Request Child Support in Washington State
One of the most common ways to request child support in Washington is to complete an application and submit the application to the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Child Support.
What is the Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Child Support (DCS) responsible for?
The DCS establishes paternity, enforces medical support, collects child support and child support order, and collects support on the party’s behalf.
Who pays for child support?
Both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children. The non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.
How Washington Calculates Child Support
Washington calculates child support based on the child’s reasonable needs under the reasonable ability of the parent to pay. The court determines child support amounts using a set of guidelines created by the Washington legislature. A parent’s child support obligation is calculated based on the parent’s net income.
Each parent’s income, daycare expenses, the cost of medical insurance, any Social Security benefits the child may be receiving, and the children’s living arrangements contribute to the calculations.
What falls under the Support Order?
Food, shelter, housing, health insurance, and basic education expenses qualify as Support Orders. Other factors include child care expenses, outstanding medical expenses, visitation travel costs, and extracurricular activities.
For how long do parents pay for child support?
A parent supports a child until the child becomes 18 or graduates high school and is under 19 years old.
Can a Support Order be Changed?
Yes. Either party can petition the court to modify the order if circumstances have changed. Potential modifications include if the parent is currently in jail, becomes permanently disabled, receives public assistance, has a new child to support, or has lost a job and cannot make the same income.
Related: Washington Child Support Laws
Does the amount of child support vary by age?
As of 2021, Washington has removed the age brackets, and child support is now the same amount (for the basic support) regardless of the child’s age.