OVERVIEW OF THE CHILD SUPPORT PROCESS
Thank you for your interest in our office and our legal services. It is our goal to provide you with professional and efficient legal services. In order to make you more fully aware of the future course of your child support matter, it is important that you have full and complete information regarding the process through which your case will continue until its final conclusion.
Disclaimer: The following overview of the child support process is intended for information only and is not intended as a substitute for meeting personally with Gregory L. Davies and getting legal advice regarding your specific matter.
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Child Support: Washington statutes require parents to financially support their minor children. Parents cannot agree to waive child support except in certain narrow circumstances and only upon approval of the court.
A common misconception is that a parent who does not pay court ordered child support is not entitled to visitation. Child support and visitation are not dependent on each other. A parent who is not paying child support is still entitled to visitation.
Child support is based upon the income of both parents. If the parents are employed and working full-time, child support is generally easy to calculate. If one or both of the parents is working part-time, a court may use income based on full-time employment for a parent who is not working full-time for the purpose of child support calculation. Additionally, if a parent is “voluntarily unemployed or underemployed” a court may also use income based on full-time employment for such parent for the purpose of child support calculation. Examples of voluntary unemployment may include a mother who stays home to take care of children, a parent who is attending school full-time, or other such circumstances.
Once the income of both parents is calculated pursuant to statute, child support then is based upon child support schedules that have been adopted by the Washington State Legislature. A DSHS child support calculator online link is in our website in “Services” under “Resources.”
Each parent’s contribution to child support is based upon the child support schedule and the percentage of each parent’s income that goes into the total combined income of the parents.
Once child support is calculated by a court an Order of Child Support is entered by the court.
The reasonable and necessary cost of work related daycare for minor children is paid by both parties in the same percentage as their contribution to child support. This cost is in addition to child support.
The cost of reasonable extracurricular activities for minor children, if appropriate, is also paid by both parties in the same percentage as their contribution to child support. These costs are also in addition to child support.
A court generally will not require parents to contribute to a private school unless there is a history of the children attending a private school or the parents agree. The cost for private school is in addition to child support.
Both parents are financially responsible for the reasonable and necessary health care of the children. Both parents may be required to pay for healthcare insurance. All uninsured healthcare costs for minor children are paid for in the same percentage as each parent’s contribution to child support. These costs are in addition to child support.
Where Child Support Is Paid:
In most cases child support is paid to the Washington State Child Support Registry in Olympia. However, a court may direct that one parent pay their child support directly to the other parent.
The IRS tax exemptions for children may be allocated by the court between the parents.
Termination of Child Support:
In most cases child support terminates upon a child reaching the age of 18 years or graduation from high school, whichever occurs last.
Post High School Education Contribution:
In some cases parents may be required by the court to contribute to their children’s post high school education expenses; these expenses include, but are not limited to, tuition and books for college, vocational or technical education. There are a number of factors considered by the court in determining whether a parent will be required to contribute and to what extent.
Attorney’s Fees and Costs:
A court, in its discretion, may award attorney’s fees and costs to be paid by one party to the other party. A court will consider the respective incomes and resources of the parties and balance the needs of one party against the ability of the other spouse to pay attorney’s fees and costs of the other party.
Our attorney’s fees are based on an hourly rate along with an estimate of the amount of time we believe it will take to finalize your child support matter. Our current fees are listed on our website in “Services” under “Fees.” Child support plan matters that are resolved by agreement or settlement will cost less than child support cases that are contested and must be resolved by a trial judge.
Note to Do-It-Yourselfers:
If you choose to do your own child support matter, we always recommend you have our office review your paperwork before you file it with the court. We do charge a minimal fee for this review or any other services you request. We also encourage you to consult with our office during the child support process as you feel the need. If, at any time, you feel overwhelmed with the child support process and doing it yourself we will be ready to take over your representation.
Our office keeps itemized billing records that are created at the same time as specific services provided for your case. This itemized billing statement is provided to you at the end of each month. You should review this billing statement carefully as it is not only a record of our time and charges for your case but also a record of our services provided.
Our office also prepares a written attorney fee agreement for each case. The agreement is signed by you and Gregory L. Davies. The original is kept in our client file and a copy is provided to you.
Thank you for your interest in our office and our legal services. If you have any questions concerning your child support matter (or any other legal matter), whether you hire our office work with you or you are processing your child support matter yourself, please contact our office to set up an appointment to meet with Gregory L. Davies.
To find our find out more about how our law firm can help you with your legal needs, contact Gregory L. Davies, Attorney at Law, in Everett, Washington. Call (425) 259-2755 or email us.