When splitting up, everyone is worried about money. How will we make it when there is only one person to pay the bills and take care of the children? Washington State law includes provisions for calculating child support to help the household where the children reside more often by providing a monthly payment to help cover the bills.
What can you pay with the child support? Child support is meant to help cover the rent, utilities, groceries, and gas in the car as well as the child’s clothes, shoes, and school supplies. Will it cover everything? No, probably not. It may also include a portion of day care costs so the primary residential parent can go to work or back to school for training. Ultimately, both parents should be supporting the kids.
Parents who end up paying child support are often fearful that it will be too much or misused by the other parent. Child support in our state is based on statistical averages of what parents spend in raising children and is tied to income levels. Some of the myths about child support are:
Myth: If the State of Washington takes child support out of my pay check, I’ll get fired.
False. You cannot be fired because the state is removing support from your paycheck. Employers are required to cooperate with the transfer of these funds, much like they do with payroll taxes.
Myth: Child support ends when my child turns 18.
Maybe. In Washington, child support orders usually terminate when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. However, post high school support may be appropriate for a child who is college bound.
Myth: If I remarry, my new spouse’s income will be included in recalculating support.
False. The calculation of support is always between the two parents of the child. New spouse income may need to be disclosed because it can impact deviations from the schedule but it is not included in the actual calculation.
Myth: I should recalculate my child support every two years.
Maybe, but probably not: Adjusting support can be expensive and stressful. Unless one or both parents have a significant change in income levels or in the number of children they support, it may not be worth the time and money. Do a cursory review of the facts before rushing off to ask a court to adjust support.
Whether paying or receiving child support, it’s important to remember the purpose of the support is to make life a little easier for your child. If you have a question, consult a lawyer.