1. Be up front about your income and expenses.
Provide verification of your income, including your last 6 months’
of wage stubs and your last 2 years’ of tax returns at the outset
of your case. Also, provide verification of your monthly living expenses
so that everyone is on the same page about what is reasonable in your case.
2. Build in automatic reviews/adjustments of the child support obligation.
Agree to exchange your income information such as taxes and wage stubs
on a yearly basis and then review whether child support needs to be adjusted.
This can save money in legal fees if you can decide whether it is beneficial
to seek an adjustment or modification of the support prior to starting
a new court action.
3. Consider other child expenses such as extracurricular activities and
If your child participated in sports during the relationship, it is likely
that he or she will continue doing so. Make sure that you discuss payment
for these types of activities and make it clear who will be responsible
for contribution and the amounts to be contributed.
4. Document expenses for your child with receipts and cancelled checks
or bank statements.
When discussing child support and specifically extracurricular and education
expenses, be prepared to approve the expenses. If you can verify your
expenses over the past year, it may be easier to negotiate the contributions
that each parent should make toward these expenses than to simply say
that each parent should contribute “half” without actually
knowing how much “half” will be.
5. The court is unlikely to deviate from the standard calculation just
because you and the other parent agree.
Make sure to be specific and set forth the reasons why a deviation from
standard child support calculation should be granted. One key factor that
the court will consider is whether a deviation will detrimentally affect
the receiving parent’s household.
6. Don’t talk to your children about the status of child support
payments from the other parent.
In general, it is a bad idea to discuss any of the legal issues of your
case with your child. The court frowns on this involvement. While it may
be frustrating that the other parent is not paying child support, don’t
let your child become involved in the conflict.
7. Remember that child support is meant for the children and not for the
A parent may become upset over the idea of having to pay money to the other
parent after the relationship is over. It is always good to remember that
the money you are paying is meant to support your children in your absence,
which is something that you should feel good about doing. In the same
respect, if you are the parent receiving support, you should remember
that the payments are to be for the benefit of the children, so funding
a new wardrobe for yourself with child support payments will probably
cause conflict between you and the other parent.
If you have questions about child support, consider speaking to an attorney.
McKinley Irvin family law attorneys in Washington and Oregon can answer
your questions and provide advice on what the appropriate child support
obligations are in your case.
Contact us with your questions.