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Can there be a deviation from the child support formula in WA?

Washington State uses a formula to determine how much child support will be paid from the supporting parent to the custodial parent. While courts do use this child support formula, there are times when it can deviate from the formula. Those who believe their circumstances are such that a deviation is warranted need to understand how courts decide on these adjustments.

One reason for a deviation from the child support formula might be the parent's income. If a parent has a new spouse to whom he or she is married, this could be a factor. The income of the new spouse is not a sole reason for deviation. However, income of other adults in the household is a possibility for a deviation if the parent who lives with the other adult asks for it. This too, however, is not a sole reason to allow it.

Some other reasons for a deviation from the child support formula can include: if a parent is paying or receiving child support from other relationships, if the child receives an extraordinary income or if a parent has some income excluded under other statutes.

In addition to those reasons for a deviation, nonrecurring income can be another reason for a court to deviate from the child support formula. This will be based on the court's finding that the income will not recur. That can include contractual obligations from the employer, overtime, bonuses and moonlighting jobs. This will be based on two previous calendar years of income.

While parents might be under the impression that there is no way to change the monthly payments they have to provide or receive for child support, the law has certain rules in place that make it possible. If a parent is interested in a child support modification, a lawyer can provide advice and assistance.

Source: Washington State Legislature, "RCW 26.19.075 Standards for deviation from the standard calculation.," accessed on Aug. 25, 2015

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