Your ex-husband hasn’t completed his child support schedule worksheets. He says that his income is flexible, and he can’t give you a reliable figure on how much he makes per month. Will you have to wait until his pay becomes regular to get payment for your children, or can the court make the decision now?

A Washington State Court Can Decide Child Support Amounts Without Proof of Income

While it is always best to give the court as much information as possible about your income, your ex can prove the amount of his income to the court by providing the last two years of federal income tax returns as well as any current pay stubs.

If your ex-spouse has not provided the court with information about his income, the court can estimate his income in order to begin payments. In addition, parents who did not provide income information often have difficulty getting approval to modify their payments once the court has set the amount.

How Does the Court Compute My Ex’s Income?

Under state law, the court will use the following information—in the following order—to estimate the amount of your ex’s income:

  • Salary and income earnings and your ex-spouse’s current rate of pay
  • Salary and income earnings at a rate of pay that your ex-spouse earned in the past
  • Earnings for part-time work where salary information is incomplete or sporadic
  • Estimated earnings at minimum wage in the parent’s jurisdiction—used if your ex-spouse is a high school student, is coming off of public assistance, or has recently been released from prison.

If the court is unable to get any of the above information, it will decide the amount of support based on the median income for a person of your ex-spouse’s age and gender. If this income is higher than the amount your ex-spouse makes, it will be up to him to dispute the amount by proving his actual income in court.

If your ex-spouse does not adhere to the payment schedule set by the court, you may be able to have his wages garnished as part of your support agreement. To find out more about how to get the child support payments you are owed, get our FREE divorce guide for women ebook, The Savvy Woman's Guide to Divorce in Washington. 

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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