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Child support guidelines to help you in a divorce

by | Jul 18, 2023 | Child Custody

When a married couple with children decides to file for divorce in Washington, neither parent is negating his or her duties and responsibilities to provide for their children’s needs. Both parents have an obligation to contribute financially to continue to care for their kids after they have settled their divorce. It’s important to understand state child support guidelines, which will influence a judge’s decision if you request support for your kids or someone asks you to pay it.

Remember that, once a judge has issued a child support order in your case, you and your former spouse must adhere to its terms, unless or until the court modifies the order. You or your ex can request modification if you have a legitimate reason for doing so. However, filing a petition doesn’t necessarily mean the court will grant the request.

Parents have a legal duty to support their children

Child support provides financial supplement to cover expenses associated with children’s needs, especially when their parents are getting a divorce. Such needs include but are not limited to housing, clothing, food and education. The court always has children’s best interests in mind when making such decisions and understands that they have become accustomed to a certain type of lifestyle during their parents’ marriage.

Child support cannot be a deduction or taxed as income

If you’re receiving child support for your children in a Washington divorce, you do not have to claim payments as income on your tax returns. You’ll want to note, however, that, if you’re the payor, you cannot deduct payments on your tax returns. Child support is tax-free and non-deductible.

What else can one use financial supplements for besides temporal needs?

In addition to basic needs, a parent can use child support payments to cover all sorts of expenses, such as extracurricular activities, travel or medical bills. It is not a requirement for a parent to use payments in a particular way. In Washington, your children would continue to be provided for under child support guidelines until they reach their 18th birthday or graduate high school (provided they graduate before age 19).

When can you request modification of a child support order?

If you’re paying child support, numerous issues may arise to make your current schedule infeasible. For example, you might experience a reduction in income or lose your job. You might remarry and have stepchildren to support. In such cases, you can file a petition to request a change in the court order.

As a parent receiving payments, you may also have reason to request modification of a child support order. If your children’s financial needs increase or you become unemployed or circumstances change, such as one of your children developing a chronic health condition, you can ask the Washington judge overseeing your case to increase payments.