What is Child Support?

Child Support is a state-determined monetary amount paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent. Is it assumed that the parent with primary custody contributes their share of parental financial responsibility directly to the other parent in the form of food, shelter, and clothing. Child Support is the other parent’s fair contribution to supporting the basic needs of the child. Paid monthly, Child Support is required to be paid through the end of the month when a child is both 18 years old and has graduated from high school.

How much is Child Support?

The more money you make, the more Child Support you will be ordered to pay. The amount varies from $200 up to $3,500 per month, with attention paid to how much each parent makes, how many children are involved, and who has primary custody. Washington State utilizes the Support Schedule Worksheet to determine the exact amount. Set up similarly to a budget, this is where each parent lists all of their net income and subtracts taxes, insurance, limited pension contributions and other expenses. It is important that this form is completed correctly, or you could end up paying an incorrect amount of support. An experienced divorce mediator is an excellent resource to support this process.

What does Child Support cover?

Child Support is intended to contribute to the day-to-day needs of the child. Housing, food, clothing and shelter are all included under this umbrella. Healthcare, childcare, education, transportation, and extracurricular activities, however, will be discussed with other agreed and shared expenses. Washington State makes this designation to consider how households vary financially, and to assure that costs are reasonable to consider the lifestyle, expenses and livelihood of both parents.

Is Child Support the same as other Agreed Shared Expenses or Spousal Maintenance?

No. Child support is separate from all other negotiated or court-mandated shared expenses, as well as Spousal Maintenance. Child Support is addressed in the Order of Child Support, which can be modified every 24 months.

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