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Child Support

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Child Support Attorneys in Everett, WA (Snohomish County)

Unlike other family law issues, the establishment of child support is rather specifically and rigidly defined in Washington. Child support actions in fall into one of four categories—namely, actions to establish child support, adjust child support, modify child support, and/or for post-secondary child support. At Berner Law Group, PLLC, we are well versed in each and every one of them.

You and the other parent will have a duty to provide financial support to the child(ren). The amount you are expected to contribute for support of your child(ren) is directly related to the percentage of income between you and the other parent. The issues of daycare and medical insurance costs (discussed further below) are often in addition to basic child support. While both parents are expected to contribute financially to child support, only one parent will actually be required to make a payment on a monthly basis (i.e., the “transfer payment”). The other parent, most often the primary residential parent, will be responsible for the day-to-day management and expenditures associated with support of the child(ren).

Under Washington law, child support may be periodically adjusted to account for changes in circumstances between the parties. Child support obligations may also be modified based on a number of factors including the age of the children, changes in residential schedule, a child wishing to attend college after high school, or changes in the income of one or both parties.

Although the parties may not believe child support is at issue, the Court is independently required to ensure that appropriate child support obligations are set in all family law cases involving children under the public policy argument that parents should support their children so that state taxpayers are not called upon to do so.

Calculating child support is not always straightforward, as support obligations are determined based on the net incomes of the parties. Determining what constitutes net income is consequential. For W-2 wage earners with no other sources of income, determining net income for purposes of setting child support obligations can be relatively straightforward. Calculating net income for the unemployed, underemployed, or for individuals who own businesses, investments, or have non-recurring income can be more difficult. The final figures can dramatically affect child support obligations. The more complicated your financial affairs are, the more critical it is to ensure you have an experienced family law attorney assisting you when determining child support obligations.

In addition to the basic child support obligation, parents are obligated to share in other child related expenses, often referred to as “extraordinary expenses.” Extraordinary expenses may include uninsured health care, education, private school, sports and other extracurricular activities, work-related childcare, travel, and other expenses that may be unique to a particular child.

Although not technically child support, the Court is able under certain conditions to require parents to pay for the higher education expenses of their adult children. Again, the sharing of these college support expenses is typically based on the parents’ net incomes. Once net incomes are determined, each parent’s pro rata share of the combined net income is determined.

If you need to establish a child support order, enforce an order, or if you have been served with or need to file a child support modification action, contact Berner Law Group, PLLC to speak with a child support lawyer/attorney in Snohomish County today! We’re conveniently located directly across the street from the Snohomish County Superior Court in downtown Everett.