Child support is a common issue divorcing parents in Bellevue face. Before a divorce will be finalized, the parents must come to an agreement on who will have custody of the children and, in turn, which parent will provide child support payments.
The provision of child support is not optional for either parent because Washington law states that a parent has a legal duty to help support his or her children. As such, any parents who are interested in pursuing a divorce should understand the child support process and should consult a Bellevue lawyer for child support help.
Beginning the Divorce
Of course, in order for child support to be necessary, the parents first must initiate the divorce. This can be done by either spouse filing a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage form at the King County Clerk’s office. The petitioner then must seek approval from his or her spouse or serve the spouse with a summons. Upon acceptance of the service, the petitioner then can file the completed documents at the Clerk’s office and schedule a hearing.
Making a Motion for Temporary Child Support
Before a divorce can be finalized, spouses must wait 90 days after the initial petition. During this 90-day period, either spouse may file a motion with the family law court for a temporary child support order. A temporary child support order ultimately would require the spouses to provide monetary support for the children until a permanent order is set at the dissolution of the marriage. Once one spouse files a motion for a temporary order, the other spouse has the option to respond, and a hearing will be set shortly thereafter for a judge to rule on the issue.
Permanent Child Support and How it is Calculated
Whether or not temporary child support is awarded during the 90-day waiting period, parents must come to a final agreement on a child support schedule for their children, which the judge must approve. Or if they cannot do so, a judge will decide for them based on a child support schedule set forth in Washington law.
In making a determination for child support, a judge will examine factors relevant both to the children and the parents; more specifically, the judge will look at which parent has custody of the child or children and the income of the parent to pay child support. The judge will take into account other factors as well, such as any additional financial resources, if the parent to pay support has children to support from previous marriages and how much time each parent spends with the kids.
Although there is a specific schedule to be used when determining child support, a judge may deviate from this if he or she finds cause to do so. Furthermore, in some cases, a spouse may fail to provide financial income or may quit his or her job to avoid paying. Here, the judge may decide to impute income; that is, the judge will assign a dollar amount based on what the parent earned before he or she left work. From there, the judge will decide an appropriate amount of child support to be paid.
We Can Help You Reach a Child Support Agreement
In certain circumstances, spouses may be able to decide upon child support amicably and have it approved in a court hearing. In others, however, it may be left up to the judge to make a final ruling.
Regardless of the situation, if you have questions about child support in Bellevue, contact a Bellevue lawyer for child support at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny. We can provide all the information you need and help you reach a child support agreement that's fair for all parties. Contact us today at 425-460-0550 to schedule a consultation or use the form on our contact page to reach us.