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Washington Child Support Laws

Effective 10/01/2009

Child support is the amount of money paid by a child’s parents to support that child. To a large degree, a parent’s child support obligation is determined by reference to the Washington State Child Support Schedule. The amount of child support is based on the combined net monthly income of the parents.

Each parent’s child support obligation is determined in proportion to their net monthly income. The non-residential parent would be required to transfer money to the residential parent according to the calculations of the child support schedule. As the main source for the determination of obligations for child support, any changes to the child support schedule can have noticeable impact on a parent’s portion of child support.

During the 2009 legislative session, the Washington State Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1794. This bill made substantial changes to the Washington State Child Support Schedule, which became effective October 01, 2009. These changes are highlighted below:

  • The basic support obligation no longer includes health care, day care, or special child-rearing expenses.
  • The 5% presumption of ordinary health care costs has been removed from the basic support amount. All health care costs are now allocated according to the parent’s proportional basic support obligation under the economic table.
  • The minimum basic support obligation has risen to $1,000 combined monthly net income. The minimum presumption of child support has increased to $50 per child per month.
  • The tables have been expanded to $12,000 of combined monthly net income and the entire table has been made presumptive.
  • Voluntary retirement contributions up to $5,000 are allowable if there has been a pattern of contributions over the previous year.
  • Allows overtime hours to be excluded from gross monthly income calculations under certain conditions.
  • Support obligations for all of a parent’s biological or legal children are limited to 45% of their net income, except for good cause. Each child is entitled to a pro rata share of the income for all the children in the case before the court.
  • Makes other changes to the manner income may be imputed.

These changes could have a significant effect on your Washington Child Support Order. Our divorce and family law attorneys are here to assist you with any WA state child support matter from initial support determinations or modifications to filing motions for contempt for non-payment.

Contact our offices if you would like to have your Washington Child Support order reviewed due to changes under the new regulations.