Here in Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee officially proclaimed that August is Child Support Awareness Month in 2021, but when did child support become “a thing?” Turns out, in the 19th century, as the USA developed more aggressive child support obligations as mothers and children were consistently left destitute causing states to seek reimbursement from fathers for the costs of helping families survive. Federal uniformity in the collection and reimbursement of child support evolved, beginning as early as 1948. In Washington, the Division of Child Support has online resources to assist in starting the enrollment process. The ability to self-advocate within the support enforcement system is valuable and appropriate for many people.
Calculating Child Support: Worksheets and Words
As child support attorneys, we know that calculating appropriate child support can range from straightforward to complex. Everything has to do with the parties’ financial and domestic landscape.
If you break out in a sweat just looking at tax forms, then child support worksheets might seem overwhelming. There are columns, boxes, dollar signs, blanks, and terms you may not be familiar with (transfer payment, self-support reserve, basic child support obligation, standard calculation, presumptive transfer payment).
“Whew! I just want to make certain my child gets adequate financial support from the other parent!”
We get it. When calculating child support, your set of circumstances is unique. A child support attorney can:
- Accurately calculate incomes and pay deductions (or estimate when not known).
- Calculate blended family factors.
- Address a child’s special needs in the calculation.
- Advise on the impact of wealth, income of current spouses/domestic partners, or other adults in the household.
Other expenses may impact the standard calculation, and your child support attorney can advocate for the inclusion of these expenses in the calculation (i.e., long-distance transportation for required visitation).
“I’m paying through the nose for child support!” OR “I was ordered to pay child support for my stepchildren!”
Recognizing that a parent has a legal duty to support their children, sometimes the amount collected may seem unfair, such as:
- A stepparent was ordered to pay temporary child support for children supported in the marriage.
- A non-custodial parent did not provide their actual income to the court for calculation, and the court imputed an income that is higher than actually earned.
- A Substantial change in earnings (over time) that may warrant a deviation from the standard calculation (involuntary long-term unemployment or underemployment, or disability).
In any case, the court will enforce child support to meet the basic needs of the children.
We are child support attorneys, and we are here to help.
Our firm has an extensive history of calculating and advocating for child support matters.
Call our office today to discuss any aspect of child support application, collection, or enforcement, or if you believe that a modification of child support is due. We will be happy to talk to you.