Child support attorney in Spokane
Divorce can be a long, arduous process in Washington State. If you have children, you may be asked to pay child support as you move through this process. With help from a child support attorney in Spokane, you can protect your financial assets.
Divorce Lawyers For Men is a network that includes Spokane divorce lawyers who understand the challenges that men face in these proceedings. We can connect you with a Spokane child support attorney who has your best interests top of mind. To learn more, please reach out to us today.
How do Spokane courts determine child support?
Per the County Clerk of Spokane County, a Superior Court can order financial assistance for a child based on the dissolution of a marriage, a paternity action, or other reasons. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Division of Child Support (DCS) can collect and enforce child support. To determine if child financial assistance is required in your case, the court will look at the combined income of both parents.
Many factors can affect the amount of support that you are required to pay. These factors include:
- Health insurance premiums
- Daycare expenses
- Transportation costs
- Uninsured expenses
If you want help with child support issues in Spokane, WA, it pays to have an experienced attorney at your side. A skilled child support attorney in Spokane, WA can provide a wide range of divorce resources. They can also help you figure out how to avoid paying an unreasonable amount of money for financial support.
Child support calculations
In Spokane, as in all of Washington State, financial support for children is determined based on your income and the other parent’s. The court will look at your net income and the combined income between both you and the other parent. From there, the court determines each parent’s percentage of support.
There is a simple formula for net income in which you can account for your total revenue minus your total expenses. It is a more detailed formula for calculating your net income. This involves subtracting the costs of any goods you sell, your expenses, your taxes, and any interest on debt from your revenue.
Even if the child financial support calculations are in your favor, there is still a chance that the court will deviate from them. For example, in a family with two children, one child may live with each parent. In this scenario, the court may deviate from the standard calculation to ensure that the support aligns with the best interests of each child.
Understanding total gross income
Your total gross income refers to the amount of money that you earn before you account for taxes or any other deductions. For instance, you can work a job in which you earn $100,000 annually. Your total gross income is $100,000, but the take-home pay you receive may be less because taxes and other costs are deducted from it.
Gross income can help you determine your taxable income. By adding all of your income sources together, you can calculate your gross income for a week, month, or year. Once you know your total gross income, you can use this figure to calculate your net income.
A child support attorney in Spokane, WA can explain total gross income and other financial topics relating to your case in detail. They can go over all aspects of Washington divorce and family law, too. Most importantly, your attorney will make sure that your legal rights are protected at each stage of your litigation.
When can the court deviate from child support guidelines?
Guidelines for financially supporting children work well in many divorce cases. Yet, these guidelines are not perfect, and they do not account for every possible scenario. Therefore, there can be times when the court will deviate from these guidelines to accommodate a child’s best interests.
The Washington State Legislature has standards for deviation from child financial support guidelines. Some of the reasons why the court will deviate from these guidelines include:
- Possession of wealth
- Non-recurring income
- Children from other relationships
- Debt and high expenses
Child support lawyers in Spokane will discuss instances in which the court may deviate from its guidelines. If there are extenuating circumstances in which you feel a deviation may be warranted, your attorney can help you present your case. To do so, they will prepare and review evidence with you and make sure that you can provide sufficient information to support your claim.
What happens if a parent doesn’t pay child support?
An order to financially support a child is considered to be a legal obligation. If you are ordered to pay to support a child but choose not to do so, you will be penalized accordingly. In this instance, you may be held in contempt of court, fined, or put in jail.
Along with these things, you can face other penalties for not paying to support a child in Washington, such as:
- Wage garnishment
- Seizure of your car or other personal property
- Placement of a lien on your personal property
- Damage to your credit score
- Suspension of your driver’s license and potentially other professional licenses
- Addition of your name to the Washington Division of Child Support Most Wanted list
- Risk of your income tax refund being garnished
Child support lawyers in Spokane, WA will encourage their clients to pay what they owe. However, after a financial support order for a child is enacted, there is an option to revisit it down the line. If your income goes down or other life changes impact your ability to pay your child support on time, you may be able to request a modification to your original order.
Found in contempt of court
If you do not pay child support, you can be found to be in contempt of court. At this point, the court has determined that you intentionally disobeyed a lawful judgment. The court can impose various remedial sanctions, including:
- Awarding back interest of up to 12% per year against the judgment
- Ordering the non-compliant parent to pay the other parent a penalty of no less than $100
- Imprisoning the non-compliant parent until they pay their past-due support
Contempt of court is commonly used to get someone to comply with a legal obligation. The length of time that someone has chosen not to comply with this obligation, the severity of this individual’s actions, and other factors can impact the punishment a person can receive if they are found to be in contempt of court. In a child support case, being placed in contempt of court may lead the court to reduce the time that a non-compliant parent is allowed to visit their son or daughter.
Rather than risk contempt of court, it is beneficial to get legal help with child support in Spokane. By hiring a child support attorney in Spokane, you can explore all of the legal options at your disposal. This can help you avoid violating a legal order that otherwise puts you in contempt of court.
Other enforcement methods
DCS gives parents many options to enforce a child support order. A parent can report a non-compliant parent to the department. When this happens, the department can reach out to the non-compliant parent and take action to collect past-due payments.
Do not put yourself in danger of having DCS pursue support payments from you. Conversely, you can connect with a child support lawyer in Spokane to protect against DCS involvement. Your lawyer can look for ways to help you reduce your support payments as quickly as possible. Additionally, a child support lawyer can also help you receive delinquent child support payments.
How do I modify child support in Spokane?
You can request a child support modification in Spokane at any time. This requires you to file forms for modification. An attorney can help you prepare these forms and submit your request for modification.
A child support modification in Spokane County, WA can be complicated. Fortunately, your lawyer will take the guesswork out of this process. They can explain exactly what needs to be done to ask for a modification of your support order and make sure that you avoid any mistakes along the way.
A child support modification in Spokane County involves the following steps.
1. File your forms
You will need to complete and submit these forms:
- Confidential Information (FL All Family 001)
- Notice about Petition to Modify Child Support Order (FL Modify 500)
- Petition to Modify Child Support Order (FL Modify 501)
Along with these, you will need to fill out Washington State Child Support Worksheets, which account for your income and expenses. You will also need to submit a Financial Declaration (FL All Family 131) that summarizes your financial information. In addition, you will need to provide Sealed Financial Source Documents (FL All Family 011) and attach two years of your tax returns and six months of your pay stubs.
2. Make copies of your forms
You should prepare copies of any forms relating to your modification request. Once you do, submit the original versions of your forms to the Spokane County Superior Court Clerk. Keep copies of your forms for your records.
3. Pay the filing fee
There is a filing fee of $56 for modifying orders in Spokane County and a $260 fee for modifying orders out-of-county or out-of-state. You can pay this fee via cash or money order to the Spokane County Superior Court Clerk.
4. Serve the other party
You are not legally allowed to serve the papers to the other parent for your modification request. Service can be done by personal delivery. Or, you can have the other parent served by mail that requires a return receipt.
5. Await the other party’s response
The other parent has up to 20 days of service to respond to your request if they live in Washington or 60 days if they reside out of state. If this individual decides not to respond, you can file a Motion for Default (FL All Family 161) or Order on Motion for Default (FL All Family 162). Doing so can lead to a support modification.
6. Go to a hearing
After the other parent receives your request for modification, they may file a Notice to Request Hearing. If this occurs, a hearing will be scheduled, and you get the opportunity to explain why you deserve your support should be modified.
There is no guarantee that a request to change your child’s financial support will be successful. If you have an attorney to represent you during your hearing, you can put yourself in the best position to achieve your desired result. Your lawyer will advocate for you and do everything they can to compel the court to rule in your favor.
*Disclaimer: The description above gives a brief explanation of the modification process. This should not be construed as legal advice, nor should it be fully relied upon as systems and procedures are more detailed and complex than what is discussed in this article. Additionally, laws, court rules, and filing fees do change regularly.
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Divorce Lawyers For Men makes it easy to get in touch with a child support attorney in Spokane. To get started, please contact us online or call us at (360) 866-7393.