What is the presumptive minimum child support obligation in WA?

An earlier discussion on the amounts in child support that must be paid in Washington State centered on the maximum amount that the state requires. Another topic that is important to both the paying and receiving parent is the presumptive minimum amount. The most important factor that goes into the child support formula is the care that the child will receive and that he or she will get everything necessary in terms of medical care, housing and nutrition among other things. The income that the parents earn is also important when the determination is made.

If a parent’s monthly net income falls below 125 percent of the poverty line established by the federal government, the support order of no less than $50 each month — per child — will be entered unless the paying parent shows that it would be unjust for that specific case. If there is a deviation below what the presumptive minimum amount will be, the best interests of the child will be considered along with the situations of the parents. The following will be taken into account: if there are insufficient funds for the custodial parent to care for the basic needs of the child, there is a hardship when compared to other households, the ability to earn money, and the assets and liabilities.

The parent making the support payments for all of the child’s needs is not allowed to have the net income lowered to below the 125 percent poverty level except for the $50 each month per child. The same factors as listed above will be considered when this determination is made. For those making more than $12,000 per year, the court has the ability to go beyond the presumptive amount of child support that has been established.

While some people who share a child have the income necessary to pay for the child’s care without a hitch, others are not in that position and the support agreement must reflect that. Parents who are concerned about the minimum support obligation whether they are paying or receiving need to have an understanding of how the child support calculation is determined and react accordingly with help from an experienced attorney.

Source: Leg.WA.gov, “RCW 26.19.065 — Presumptive minimum support obligation; income above twelve thousand dollars,” accessed on Dec. 8, 2015