Determining how to allocate child support payments is often one of the most worrisome aspects of the divorce process for both custodial and noncustodial parents. Washington law has guidelines and exceptions for child support that are specific to the state.

Learning how the courts calculate child support may help relieve some of the anxiety parents experience about the financial impact that divorce may have on their children.

Child support guidelines

One primary factor that courts consider is the length of time that children will spend with each parent. Other considerations include the income of each parent, their basic living costs and children’s medical and educational expenses.

Additional considerations

According to statutory law governing child support payments, courts have some discretion to deviate from the standard formulaic approach to calculating support payments. A court may consider circumstances such as parties’ outstanding debt, dependents from another marriage and sources of income that are subject to change.

Modification of a support order

The state bases child support orders on the living situations of the parties at the time that the judge signs the order. A party may seek a modification of a support order at a later time due to a change in custody, income or expenses.

Regardless of what happens between spouses during a divorce, they have to find a way to financially co-parent effectively and responsibly. Ultimately, an understanding of parental rights and obligations related to child support may help navigate the divorce process as well as help parents serve the best interests of their children.