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Washington Child Support

How is your income calculated?

All Washington child support calculations are based on your income.  So, how do you calculate your income for purposes of determining a proposed amount of support under the WA State child support guideline?  The guidelines use a specific formula that takes various factors into account. 

Determination of income

All income and income sources of both parties are before the Court when determining child support.   Basic expenses, including medical insurance actually paid for the child, mandatory pension payments and union dues, maintenance actually paid, state insurance and state and federal income tax, may be deducted from the gross income.  

If a person owns a business, he or she may deduct reasonable “hard costs”, such as rent/mortgage, advertising, utilities, supplies, vehicle expenses and employee expense, from their gross business income.  If you have questions about what whether certain expenses are deductible, it is important to consult with an experienced Washington child support attorney.

If either parent is unemployed the Court may and most likely will impute an income for that individual.    This imputed amount will either be based on that persons previous work history and earning potential or it will be determined by the state guidelines based on that person’s age and what the state feels a person of that gender and age should be making.

The Court may also impute income at a higher rate if it feels that a parent is voluntarily under-employed, especially if the court believes that the party's intent is to reduce the amount of child support they would otherwise have to pay.  As a result, quitting a high paying job in order to avoid paying or reduce the amount of support can often backfire.

Both parents are expected to provide the Court with Financial Declarations, as well as copies of pay stubs and tax returns.  The Court or the other party may also request copies of business records, bank records and information regarding investments as well as information regarding the finances of other adults living in either household.

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