You’ve been remarried for a few months now, and you just got a notice that your child support payments are increasing. Is it really fair for your ex-wife to demand more money when you need your resources to provide for your new family?

Definition of “Gross Income” for Child Support in Seattle

When Washington State Child Support Services first determined the amount of your “gross income,” they examined your total income before tax deductions and expenses. Now that you are remarried, your total income may have increased; however, it is likely your expenses have increased as well.

How Can My New Partner’s Income Be Used to Calculate My Support Payments?

When you initially filled out your child support worksheets, you were only required to provide information about your income and your ex-spouse’s income. However, the court bases its child support decisions on the information from both parents’ entire financial situations. The total household amount of income may be taken into consideration, which may include the income of:

  • A live-in partner
  • A new spouse
  • Other adults who live with you
  • Other children in your household

Your spouse’s income may be counted if it makes a significant difference in your ability to provide for your children. For example, if you ask the court to modify your current support schedule because you are supporting your new step-children, the court will have to count your current spouse’s income toward your payments. On the other hand, if your new spouse is supporting children of his or her own, this will affect the total amount of income available to pay your child support commitments.

Modify your child support

What If I Work a Second Job or Earn Overtime?

The court may not count a portion of money you earn from working overtime or income from a second job if you can prove that the money was used to pay for a specific and immediate need in your current family or to pay off past child support debts. If you can show that you intend to stop working overtime or will quit the second job when the specific debt is paid, these funds will not be counted as regular income.

In many cases, the total amount of income you receive in your household bears little resemblance to the money you actually have on-hand each month. If you believe you are paying too much in child support payments, read the related links on this page or download a FREE copy of our men's divorce e-book, packed with valuable information regarding Washington's divorce process.


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