There are so many decisions that separating parents face. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and confused during this challenging time, so give yourself the space and time to explore your options before rushing into a decision. As you navigate through the divorce or legal separation process in Southwest Washington, consider enlisting the guidance of an experienced and compassionate family law attorney to help you move through each step. Working with an attorney is highly recommended, especially when negotiating child support and parenting plan matters. Your lawyer will work with you to ensure that the child support order puts your child’s needs first and protects your best interests. Let’s take a look at how child support obligations are calculated and established in the Vancouver area.
Washington courts use several factors to determine how much child support a parent will pay to assist the other parent with the costs of raising the child. For example, the court will consider the number of children the parents have, the ages of the children, the incomes of each parent, and any additional considerations, like a child with special needs that may require more costly and ongoing support. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services provides a free online tool to estimate the amount of monthly child support you may be entitled to receive (or obligated to pay).
Washington has established a base child support payment that’s designed to cover basic, recurring expenses associated with raising a child: food, clothing, and housing. Of course, parents face several other significant costs when raising their children, such as health care costs, daycare tuition, and funds for extracurricular activities. To address the other costs, courts look at the incomes of each parent. When the parents earn the same amount, they split these “beyond-the-basic” costs equally. In cases where one parent earns significantly more than the other, the court will compel the higher-earning parent to pay a higher proportion of these costs. Ultimately, the court will strive to establish a child support order that prioritizes the child’s best interests.
Disputes related to child support and other family matters can be particularly difficult to navigate. Emotions tend to run high, and it can be hard to remain objective as you fight for your child’s best interests. It’s essential to recognize that you do not have to go through this tumultuous time alone. Working with a trusted and knowledgeable family law attorney will provide you with the information and clarity you need to make decisions with confidence.
If you need help with a child support or child custody matter in the Vancouver area, call John L. Davis, PLLC, today at (360) 597-4740 to speak with an experienced and caring family law attorney.
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