The issue of child support arises in nearly all family law cases in which children are involved, including:
- Parenting Plan Modifications
- Child Support
- Paternity Cases
- Non-Parental Custody Cases
- Relocation Cases
Although the parties may not believe child support law is an issue, the court is independently required to ensure that appropriate child support obligations are set in all family law cases involving children (under the theory that parents should support their children so that state taxpayers are not called upon to do so). This can be complicated, and a knowledgeable child support attorney and child support law firm is essential to the process.
McKinley Irvin attorneys Kim Schnuelle and Blake Hilty offer their clients decades of experience in child support cases. Kim is one of Washington’s most experienced child support attorneys. Both Kim and Blake have extensive experience in setting child support at divorce, child support collection, child support modification, and child support adjustment.
If you need to establish a support order, enforce an order, or if you have been served with or need to file a child support modification action, we invite you to contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Calculating Child Support
Support obligations are set according to a statutory formula. In Washington State, DSHS has a worksheet tool that can assist you in estimating child support obligations. This worksheet may be found at Washington State Child Support Calculator. In Oregon, you can find an Oregon child support calculator on the Oregon Department of Justice website.
Calculating child support is not always straight forward, as support obligations are directly determined based on the net incomes of the parties.
Determining what constitutes net income is consequential. For W-2 wage earners with no other sources of income, determining net income for purposes of setting child support obligations can be relatively straight forward. Calculating net income for the unemployed, underemployed, or for individuals who own businesses, investments, or have non-recurring income can be more difficult. The final figures can dramatically affect child support obligations. The more complicated your financial affairs are, the more critical it is to ensure you have an experienced family law attorney assisting you when determining child support obligations.
At McKinley Irvin, our child support attorneys have represented hundreds of clients in establishing, modifying, and enforcing child support obligations. We have substantial experience in obtaining the correct records and documentation necessary to accurately assess and establish net income in order to ensure support is calculated fairly. Our child support attorneys handle cases where incomes are difficult to prove due to unemployment, underemployment, or where income is otherwise not easily determined due to complicated business or financial interests, or cases in which extraordinary income is involved.
Beyond the Basic Child Support Obligation
In addition to basic child support, parents are obligated to share in other child related expenses, often referred to as “extraordinary expenses.” Extraordinary expenses may include uninsured health care, education, sports and other extracurricular activities, work related childcare, travel, and other expenses that may be unique to a particular child.
Although not technically child support, the courts are able under certain conditions to require parents to pay for the higher education expenses of their adult children. Again, the sharing of these expenses is typically based on the parents’ net incomes. Once net incomes are determined, each parent’s share of the combined net income is determined. The resulting percentage is used to allocate responsibility for extraordinary expenses.
Here is an example:
If John’s net income is $5,000 a month, and Joan’s net income is $3,500 a month, the combined net income of both parties is $8,500. John’s share of the combined net income is 59% ($5000 / $8,500), and Joan’s share is 41% ($3,500 / $8,500). Thus, John will pay 59% of extraordinary expenses, and Joan will pay 41%.
Child Support Enforcement
Either a private party or the state can file an enforcement action on a child support order. At McKinley Irvin, our child support attorneys have handled many Oregon and Washington State child support enforcement and contempt actions. We have negotiated and litigated on behalf of parties seeking back support judgments, as well as those defending against such actions. Our child support attorneys also have experience in cases brought by the State through the prosecutor’s office or the Department of Child Support.