An uncontested divorce is the fastest and easiest way to get a divorce if you have an amicable relationship with your spouse.
However, if you are a parent of minor children, child support issues can add to the difficulty of getting an uncontested divorce. While it might make you hesitate about proceeding with an uncontested divorce, a successful uncontested divorce with children is not impossible. Keep in mind that an uncontested divorce is also more beneficial to the children as it reduces the stress and tension in the family.
What is Child Support?
In a divorce that involves minor children, child support is mandatory.
Child support operates under the specific state guidelines, although ultimately, it is an issue that has to be determined by the court.
In the court’s decision regarding the amount of child support and which parent bears this duty, the factors to be considered may include:
- Child Custody Arrangement: Usually, it is the non-custodial parent who bears the obligation to make child support payments to the parent who has custody of the children. A custodial parent might still be required to pay child support to the other custodial parent, for instance, when the parents share joint custody.
- Financial Status of the Parents: The court is more likely to order the parent with a higher and more stable income to make payments to the other. The arrangement is also subject to changes in the parents’ financial conditions, for example, it can be modified accordingly when a parent obtains new employment or goes through sudden financial hardship.
Under the Washington state child support guidelines, you can estimate your monthly child support payment using an online child support calculator.
How to Deal with Child Support in an Uncontested Divorce?
Here are two important steps of how to handle child support issues in an uncontested divorce:
1. Make Plans with Your Spouse
The core of an uncontested divorce is reaching an agreement with your spouse regarding all the issues related to your divorce. The same rule applies when it comes to child support: it is better to communicate openly and make parenting plans together with your spouse.
Once you fully discuss and agree on the arrangement for child custody and support, there is a high probability that the agreement will be signed off by a judge.
2. File the Required Documents
In addition to the divorce paperwork, uncontested divorce with children requires the following documents:
- Child Support Order
- Washington State Child Support Schedule Worksheets
- Attachment for Residential Split Adjustment (if applicable)
- Financial Declaration
- Parenting Plan
Completion of the additional paperwork and agreement from both parties is a huge requirement for proceeding with an uncontested divorce.
What are Your Options as a Man in This Situation?
There has been a stereotype of men always being the child support payor after divorces, whereas child support decisions are purely based on realistic considerations, in the best interest of the children.
Therefore, it is important to learn about your options as a father in an uncontested divorce situation:
- Make Agreements with Your Ex-Spouse: To complete an uncontested divorce you and your soon-to-be ex spouse have to agree on all of the terms. This usually means that both sides are willing to make small concessions. Sometimes, one side is so anxious to get the divorce done as stress free as possible that they agree to everything put in front of them. This can end up hurting in the long run as some aspects of a divorce agreement cannot be changed later; and those that can be changed often require a “substantial change in circumstances” to be modified. Be smart about what you are willing to agree to.
- Use Areas of Agreement as Starting Points: If you have areas that you and your spouse agree upon, try to carry that momentum into other areas. Arriving at topics of contention, if the conversation isn’t going anywhere, move on to other areas where you might find agreement then circle back. It is better to continue to make progress on what you do, or can, agree on than to get stuck on one issue. If you can’t come to a full agreement required for an uncontested divorce, you may at least get a majority of the issues worked out.
- Recognize When it is Time to File: At some point, if you are unable to reach full agreement, it may be in your best interest to file for your divorce and present the courts with your argument. The longer a situation plays out, the more likely a court is to support that situation. For example, if you are not having as much time with your child as you would like, letting that situation play out for a year and then asking the courts to change it may be difficult. The court usually wants to disrupt the child’s life as little as possible. So, if a current situation isn’t how you want things to be long term, it needs to be addressed by the court before it becomes “the norm.”
Uncontested divorce is a worthy goal that is often hard to achieve. For instance, child support issues can get complicated throughout or even after a divorce. Consider hiring an experienced divorce attorney for men to help balance your options.
Need more information on child support in an uncontested divorce in WA state? Call us at 360-866-7393 or schedule a consultation online!