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Bill may enable Washington men to escape paying child support

Child support guidelines in Washington take into account the income of both parents while calculating the amount. When applicable, courts may also choose to deviate from these guidelines. The need for deviating may arise from special circumstances of a divorce, child support modification proceedings or paternity claims. However, in recent times, considering the court's bias in awarding child support to a mother, there have been various calls to bring about a change in the system.

Existing family law in Washington only gives four years for fathers to challenge the parentage of a child. It is assumed that the man is the father if he was married to the child's mother at any time close to the child's date of birth. A recent bill proposed by Senator Jan Angel would enable a man to stop paying child support if genetic tests find that he is not the father. The bill would give a period of two to five years for the man to disprove his paternity. If the request to cut off ties with the child is approved by the court, the man will no longer need to pay child support.

For people who are involved, or are expecting to get involved in a child support dispute with a former spouse or girlfriend, it is extremely important to be aware of one's rights before the beginning of the process. Such people should be prepared with all relevant documentation to avoid any possibility of deviating from Washington child support guidelines.

Moreover, changes in life's circumstances may lead to a situation which requires a child support modification. In such cases, it is absolutely necessary to make modifications of child support payments. Whatever the scenario, any parent who faces disputes related to child support may consider consulting an attorney who is well versed with Washington family laws. After all, child support is meant for the health and wellbeing of children, and it must be assured that ensuing battles between parents do not violate the child's rights.

Source: The News Tribune, "Bill could let men sever child support with DNA test results," Melissa Santos, Jan. 20, 2015

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