Last Updated on October 25, 2023 by Lori Pace
For every child’s well-being, parental support is vital. In a family, both parents offer support to their child. This is a good thing. If a couple splits or the parents have never married, one parent may be responsible. Washington state has child support laws, process, and supporting calculator. These laws help balance the responsibilities of both parents. They share some responsibility for caring for their child, and they do not shirk from fulfilling their obligations.
The Process For Child Support After Divorce
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Child Support (DCS) offers child support services for custodial parents. Parents who wish to apply for child support can print the application form or they can fill out a request to have a copy of the form mailed to their address.
Parents must provide important information about their child, the non-custodial parent and themselves as part of the child support request. Name, date of birth and sex are all required. Particular details about the non-custodial parent, such as the employer’s information and last known address, telephone number, and physical description, are crucial. Authorities use these details to locate the parent following the application, so they can send the parent a notice of child support. The case will not be able to move forward unless the parent receives the notice. The DCS can then use federal and state locator services to help locate non-custodial parents.
After Locating The Noncustodial Parent
After serving the notice to the parent, it’s only necessary to establish the parentage of the child. Legally, the father of the child is presumed to have been the husband of the mother if they were married at the time the child was born. Parents who did not marry can sign an acknowledgement form at the hospital right after the birth. They can sign this form at the county health department much later. However, after 5 days since the birth of the child, signing the form will have a fee.
A court order can help establish parentage and will usually order genetic testing to confirm the identity of the father of the child. The court will then issue a warrant for genetic testing to confirm the identity of the father. If this happens, the name of the man can be added on the child’s birth certificate. For more information on establishing parentage, visit the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services page.
Once the parentage is established, the process for determining the amount of child support to be paid begins. Additionally, after $550 has been paid within the fiscal year, the DCS charges a $35 annual fee for each child support case. Families that have received financial aid from the public do not need to pay this fee.
How To Receive Child Support and Calculator Tool in Washington State
The parent can directly pay the Washington child support to the bank accounts of custodial parents. Direct Deposit arrangements make this possible. Direct Deposit allows the DCS the ability to directly deposit child support payments into the checking or savings account of the custodial parent. However, the parent must fill in an authorization form to enroll for Direct Deposit.
The state will issue a DCS debit card to parents who did not authorize Direct Deposits into their accounts. This Visa debit card has child support payments loaded onto it. The parent can then use the card the same way as a regular debit card at any VISA-accepted location.
Calculator and The Maximum Amount That Your Family Can Receive For Child Support in Washington State
The DCS attempts to establish child support orders by calculating a reasonable amount that covers the cost of the child’s care and is affordable for the noncustodial parent. There are many factors that go into calculating the monthly amount. The DCS takes income of both parents, healthcare expenses, daycare expenses, cost of education, number and other obligations for child support, as well as the cost of healthcare into account when calculating the monthly child support amount. If the income of a parent is not known or the parent intentionally stays unemployed or underemployed, the income figures can be imputed. Washington state has a full set of guidelines for determining child support payment. The state website offers an online calculator for Washington that estimates the amount of child support payments.
Sometimes, noncustodial parents default or delay on child support payments. The DCS may take appropriate actions to ensure that parents receive child support in these cases. After the issuing child support order, the DCS often take income withholding actions. Others actions include:
- Withholding wages
- Retain unemployment compensation
- Retention of pensions that are not under the federal law
- Accepting insurance payouts
- Bank accounts frozen
- Suspension driver’s license
- Filing liens against the parent’s property
- Refusing passport renewals,
- Interception of refunds of income tax
- Seizing personal property, etc.
Some actions are automatically taken, while others can be initiated only after certain criteria have been met for enforcement.