The legislature for the State of Washington has established a Support Schedule to guide the court regarding divorcing party’s child support obligations. The schedule is largely based on the net income of both parents and the number and age of the children, but the Court may also consider special needs and unusual financial situations to support a “deviation” from the standard Support Schedule calculations.
The Court may also require support of a child beyond the age of 18 if the child remains a dependent due to mental or physical disability or, much more commonly, to provide for support of a child who hasn’t yet finished high school or needs college or “post-secondary educational” support. In determining whether to order post-secondary educational support, the Court assesses the parties’ household finances, each party’s educational background, and whether the child shows an aptitude for and interest in post high school education. The Court isn’t required to mandate post-secondary education contributions by parents, and will only do so when the Court deems the circumstances to be appropriate. Moreover, the child is usually expected to apply for scholarships, grants, aids, and employment so that the full financial burden isn’t imposed on the parents.
While at the end of your case the Court will enter a “final” Child Support Order, such orders may be “adjusted” once every two years based on changes in the income of the parents. Moreover, an order may be “modified” if there occurs a “substantial change of circumstances”, if the order works a severe economic hardship on either party or the child, if a child has changed age groups at 12 years old, or if there is a need to extend support beyond a child’s 18th birthday.
Child support proceedings can be complex and varied, with every family having different circumstances and issues that need to be analyzed rather than there being a one size fits all result that you can expect. We will work together to analyze your family’s particular circumstances to ensure appropriate child support orders for your family.