Determining child support is a vital part of the divorce process. It ensures that even if you and your spouse go your separate ways, your children will receive the financial support they need for various needs, such as school and health care.
Sometimes, the court orders both parents to pay child support. Washington state’s child support schedule can help you arrive at an estimate of your share of support. This schedule takes into account factors like the couple’s combined income and the number of their children.
The schedule, however, is often not the only basis for determining support share and value. The court might also consider other variables, especially if there is a possibility that the guideline support amount is unfair to either the parents or the child. For example, the guideline amount may be insufficient for the needs of a teenage child. These variables can include the following.
Source of income
The court may deviate from the guideline amount based on the parents’ source of income or wealth. These include your savings, investments and other assets, gifts, and the income of your new partner. If other adults are in your household, the court may factor in their income too.
Debts and expenses
The court might examine debts you involuntarily incurred over time. If your child has special needs, the court might also investigate how much you spend to cover these needs.
Children from other relationships
When determining guideline support amount, the court usually counts only your offspring with the spouse you are divorcing. If you have children from other relationships, the court might consider whether you are already paying support for those children.
It is vital that you and your spouse arrive at a support share and amount that is appropriate to your children’s needs. But even with a child support schedule, this is often easier said than done because of the many factors involved. Taking time to negotiate the matter and working with a divorce lawyer can help you settle a reasonable outcome.