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Understanding the child support formula in Washington State

For parents in Washington State who share a child, one of the largest issues that comes up is the child support formula and how it is determined how much must be paid. It's important to understand the state's child support guidelines as the legal issues of support are decided upon. Parents are required to care for the child until the age of 18 and, if the child has yet to graduate from high school, 19-years-old.

Both parents' income will factor in as to how much must be paid to support the child. The income of the parents via salary, wages, overtime and other sources will all be taken into account when the determination is made. There is a baseline child support formula that is used when coming to an amount that must be paid, but there might be mitigating factors affecting it. These can include the potential income of a new spouse or partner; extraordinary income of the child -- if, for example, the child is working in some way, if the child is disabled and has special needs that must be accommodated, children one or both parents might have with other people and the custodial arrangement.

Other aspects of support must be considered. The court might mandate that a child be added to a parent's insurance coverage. If there are costs for child care while the parent who has custody must work, there might be an order for the other parent to contribute to pay for it. If there are health costs that are considered extraordinary, this can be added to the amount that must be paid. Cash support might be required to care for the child's health needs.

In some instances, a parent might not pay what that parent is supposed to to care for the child. This can lead to legal difficulties for delinquent payments. The law takes this very seriously and it's imperative to know how this is dealt with. Not keeping up with the monthly payments can result in legal difficulties and punishments that can prove to be more costly in the long run. Those who have questions about anything involved with the child support formula should discuss the matter with an experienced legal professional.

Source: SingleParents.About.com, "Washington Child Support Guidelines," Debra Washington, accessed on Oct. 21, 2014

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