Most parents know that the main idea behind child support in Washington is to meet the child's basic needs. Washington State uses specific calculations and formulas to determine the support needs of a child, but the reality of child support agreements are often much more complex than a few equations.

Before you start negotiating child support payments, review these three lesser-known facts about Washington State child support and be sure to discuss your case with a child support lawyer.

1. Courts Consider Each Parent’s Income Even if Only One Contributes

Washington State considers each parent’s income both separately and together as the combined income available to support the children.

The amount each parent contributes to the combined total will be the amount he or she is responsible of contributing toward the child's expenses. For example, if a father contributes 60 percent of the combined income, he will be liable for contributing 60 percent of the child support.

2. Wage Garnishment is Only One Penalty of Missing Support Payments

The Department of Child Services (DCS) is the government entity responsible for enforcing child support agreements. The DCS may order your employer to garnish your wages if you are delinquent in your payments, but you may also face other penalties. If you fail to make scheduled support payments, you may find the following has taken place to pay your ex-spouse:

  • Repossessing of settlements won as the result of a lawsuit
  • Liens filed against your real estate or personal property
  • Redirecting of your IRS tax refund
  • Seizure and sale of non-primary vehicles or real estate

3. Other Government Agencies Help the DCS Collect Child Support

You cannot use leaving the country as an excuse to stop paying child support. The DCS works with several other government agencies to ensure the enforcement of child support agreements.

For example, the DCS can work with the U.S. Department of State to collect delinquent payments from a parent overseas. The Washington DCS also works with DCS offices in other states or tribal governments for Indian reservations to collect payments due from their residents.

Get the Child Support Help You Need

Do not let excuses or confusion over the child support system leave you without the payments your child is entitled to through your agreement. Contact my firm, the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, to make sure you have a fair agreement that is in accordance with your terms.

Contact me at 425-460-0550 for help with developing, enforcing, or adjusting a child support agreement in Washington.

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