Child support in Spokane County follows the state definition. It is the money paid from one parent to another parent for the care of any children from the relationship. Parents have a legal duty to support their children. The main idea behind child support in Washington is to ensure the children have sufficient funds to support their needs.  There are multiple factors to consider when determining the amount of child support one party is responsible for. Washington State determines the amount of child support using the Washington State Support Schedule which can be found in RCW 26.19. Washington Courts require parents to fill out the Washington State Child Support Schedule Worksheets.

The first step in determining child support is to figure each parent’s monthly net income. Your net income is the remaining income after deducting certain taxes and expenses. Not all deductions taken from your wages can be counted towards your net income used to determine child support. Deductions which are allowed by Washington include: federal income tax, social security and Medicare (FICA), union dues, etc.

Sometimes the parent requesting child support does not know the net income of the other parent.  During these circumstances you may impute income based upon the median income for age and gender in the United States.

Once the net income for both parents has been determined the amounts are combined. The basic child support obligation is calculated for this combined amount using RCW 26.19.020. To determine each parent’s proportional share of income, you will need to take each person net income and divide it by the combined net income of both parents. Each parent’s basic child support obligation is determined by this percentage. It is important to note that child support in Spokane county can also be determined by a Superior Court Commissioner (as opposed as to a Superior Court Judge).

Some of the factors that could affect the basic child support obligation are the children’s health insurance premiums, uninsured expenses, daycare expenses, long distance transportation expenses, etc. After taking into account these factors, a standard calculation of child support can be determined. This standard calculation is used by the Court to order the payment of child support from one parent to the other parent.

During certain circumstances, the Court may deviate from this standard calculation. Some of the more common deviations are as follows: possession of wealth, extraordinary income of the children, income from overtime or a second job that was excluded from the net income, a nonrecurring income, special needs of the children, etc.

A deviation that has become more common in today’s Courts is split custody between the parents.  Sometimes one child will live with one parent and another child will live with the other parent. A formula for determining this kind of split custody can be found in In re the Marriage of Arvey, 77 Wn. App. 817.

Another common deviation that is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s Courts is 50/50 custody of the children. When the parents split their visitation with the children evenly it is fair for the parent who is paying the support obligation to be credited with the days he/she spends with the children. It is up to the Court to decide whether a deviation from the standard calculation should occur. If at any time the children’s support is reduced to where the custodial parent’s household would have less, the Court will likely deny the deviation.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider with determining child support. It is advisable to seek the help of an attorney qualified in Family Law matters.

For more information about child support in Spokane County, please contact our law office at (509) 927-3546.

Overview of This Area of Law
What is a Marriage? (legally speaking)
Illegal Marriages in Washington (and Spokane)
Prenuptial Agreements in Washington
Divorce: Filing, Deadlines, and Other Issues
Divorce: Temporary Orders and Motions
Parenting Plans in Spokane County
Child support in Spokane County
Spousal Support
Division of Assets in a Divorce
Emergency Orders
Third Party Actions in Spokane County