Child Support Lawyers in Seattle
As parents, we have a responsibility to provide the best care for the financial needs of our children. In Washington, parents who share custody must contribute proportionally to this task, and non-custodial parents often must pay child support to the custodial parent toward basic needs associated with raising a child. For some couples, this is easily sorted out, but for others, there are concerns if the amount of child support ordered by the court is fair or accurate. Maybe your circumstances have changed, and you can no longer afford the required support amount. Whatever your situation, our child support lawyers at ZafiroLaw are here to assist you through the child support process to ensure you can financially provide for your child.
How Washington Child Support Gets Determined
Washington child support laws take both parents’ incomes into account when determining the amount of an order. The Washington State Support Schedule is the guideline used in making this determination, and courts in Snohomish and King Counties will calculate how much support each parent should provide according to the gross amount of income they earn.
Though child support usually lasts until your child has reached the age of 18 or graduates high school, there are instances where it may continue longer. Should they become disabled, the court may allow support to continue past the age of maturity.
A child support order is made based on more than just gross income differences between parents, but also the below factors:
- How many children you support and their ages
- Your new spouse or partner’s income
- Other children supported by your spouse or partner
- Any deductions like taxes, Medicare, pension contributions, or social security
Other factors could cause a court to order support outside of these guidelines. This can occur if you are the non-custodial parent and spend substantial time with your child compared to the other parent. In these cases, you may get a reduced amount ordered for your support liability.
What Happens if I Can’t Afford Child Support?
When a parent ordered to pay child support fails to do so, the court may pursue a contempt action against them. This action can be brought by the custodial parent receiving the support or the county child support enforcement agency with jurisdiction. When this occurs, a court will determine how much in payments is still outstanding and what action should be taken to correct the issue.
The presiding judge may decide that authorizing your wages or government program benefit to be garnished. In severe cases of gross failure to pay child support, it is possible that the parent obligated to pay will have to serve jail time until all or part of the outstanding debt is paid.
It is critical to speak with the experienced Washington child support lawyers at ZafiroLaw about what options you have available to pursue the support you are owed or represent you throughout your contempt charge process.
Modifying a Washington Child Support Order
Many parents fall behind on their child support orders because they have experienced a substantial change of circumstances after a subsequent divorce, job change, or relocation. Under Washington state law, you can ask the court to adjust or modify your current child support order. You can request for an adjustment every two years. You don’t have to wait 2 years to request modification.
Other situations that may necessitate an increase or decrease in a child support order include:
- One of the parents have a significant change in income
- The custody arrangements for the child have changed
- One parent is in jail
- Increased medical costs are being incurred due to major illness
- Childcare or education costs have increased
- A parent’s time with the child has changed dramatically
- One of the parents has had another child
It is important to understand that you must go through court to receive an adjustment or modification. Doing so on your own without court approval could lead to a contempt action against you. The court must approve any change made to the amount of child support ordered.
Before taking any action to get your child support order adjusted or modified, speaking with a knowledgeable Washington child support attorney at ZafiroLaw can give you critical insight into the impact of such a change.
ZafiroLaw is Here to Help
As a parent, you know the importance of supporting your child after divorce or separation. If you are a custodial parent seeking support for the first time or a non-custodial parent who has experienced a major change in life circumstances and cannot afford to pay your ordered amount, ZafiroLaw is here to represent you.
Our firm has a proven case history of success when representing families in sensitive areas of family law like child support. You need a legal team that focuses on helping you resolve your legal matter with minimal stress on your child and new family. As a Seattle-based firm, we are proud to bring comprehensive family law services to communities throughout the area, including Mill Creek, Edmonds, and Bellevue.
Call us at 206-547-9906 to learn more about how we can help you navigate this complicated process, or contact us online today!