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Puyallup Child Support

Compassionate Legal Representation For Your Puyallup Child Support Case

Negotiating child support can be a very emotionally taxing time. You want what's best for your child while protecting your financial interests. A skilled child custody attorney is your greatest asset when facing a child custody case. Because our Puyallup child support attorneys understand the Washington laws and regulations that affect your cases, they will guide you through every step of the legal process to ensure your and your child’s rights are protected under state law.

How Can I Get A Fair Child Support Settlement?

Washington state believes that both parents share a financial responsibility toward their children. To ensure a fair outcome for parents who follow the legal process, it has designed a child support system. Here are some tips from our Puyallup child support law firm to help you achieve a fair settlement:

  1. Consult with a Child Support Attorney: Consult with a family law attorney experienced in child support cases in Washington. They will provide the legal advice you need to understand your rights and obligations and advocate for your interests during negotiations or court proceedings.
  2. Understand Washington's Child Support Guidelines: Familiarize yourself with Washington's child support guidelines, which outline how child support is calculated based on the parent's income, custody arrangement, and other relevant factors.
  3. Be Flexible and Open-Minded: Be willing to compromise and consider creative solutions that meet the needs of both parents and, most importantly, the child. Flexibility and cooperation can lead to a more amicable resolution and a fair child support settlement.
  4. Document All Interactions: Keep detailed records of all communications, agreements, and financial documents related to child support negotiations. Having thorough documentation can help support your case and ensure you present all relevant information.
  5. Gather Your Financial Information: Collect accurate financial information for both parents, including income from all sources, expenses, and other relevant financial factors that may impact child support calculations.
  6. Negotiate in Good Faith: Try negotiating a child support agreement with the other parent outside of court. Consider the child's needs, each parent's financial situation, and any special circumstances that may affect child support payments.
  7. Consider Attending Mediation: By opting for mediation, parents can effectively reach a fair child support settlement without going to court with the help of a neutral third party, who will facilitate helpful dialogue and assist both parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.
  8. Seek Court Intervention if Necessary: If you cannot reach a fair child support settlement through negotiation or mediation, you may need court intervention. A judge will review the case, consider all relevant factors, and issue a child support order that complies with Washington state law.

By following these steps, hiring a skilled child support lawyer, and working cooperatively with the other parent, you can increase the likelihood of reaching a fair child support settlement in Washington.

How Is Child Support Calculated In Washington

Washington calculates child support using the Income Shares Model, which factors parents' incomes and certain expenses related to raising children. The first step in calculating child support is determining each parent's income, which covers the following:

  • Wages
  • Salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Rental income
  • Self-employment income
  • Unemployment benefits
  • And other incomes

If the Pierce County Courts find a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, their income may be credited based on their earning capacity.

Once each parent's income is determined, they are combined to calculate the total income available to support the child or children. Washington’s standardized Child Support Schedule provides guidelines for determining the basic support obligation based on the parent's combined income and the number of children needing support. The Schedule includes a table that specifies the basic support amount for various income levels and the number of children.

The basic child support obligation is divided between parents based on their proportional income. For instance, if one parent contributes 80% of the combined income, they would be responsible for 80% of the basic support amount. The courts may adjust the obligation based on certain factors such as parenting time, childcare expenses, healthcare costs, and other extraordinary expenses related to the child's needs. If one parent has the child for a significant amount of time, they may be entitled to a parenting time credit, which can reduce their child support obligation. The credit reflects the additional expenses incurred by the parent who has the child for more time.

The court considers various factors and adjustments before determining the final child support amount. This sum represents the total financial obligation one parent owes the other to support their child or children.

It's important to note that while Washington provides guidelines for calculating child support, the court can deviate from them if necessary to ensure the child's best interests. Additionally, if there are new changes in your financial circumstances, the Pierce County Courts will modify your child support orders to reflect them. 

How Do I Qualify For Child Support In Pierce County?

To qualify for child support in Pierce County, Washington, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Custodial Parentage: You must be the custodial parent or legal guardian of the child for whom you seek child support. The custodial parent is typically the parent the child resides with most of the time.
  • Parental Responsibility: Non-custodial parents typically pay child support to the custodial parent, who may be required to provide financial support for the child's upbringing. Parental responsibility applies to both biological and legal parents.
  • Establish Paternity: If the child's paternity is yet to be established, you may need to do so before pursuing child support. Paternity is established voluntarily through a paternity affidavit or legal proceedings, such as genetic testing.
  • Financial Need: Because child support provides for the child's basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, education, and healthcare, you may need to demonstrate financial need or provide evidence of the child's expenses to support your request for child support.

Pierce County establishes child support through the legal system. To initiate the process, you may need to file a petition or request with the court or work with the Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS). It's important to gather relevant documentation to support your child support claim, including information about the child's living arrangements, the other parent's income, and any other factors affecting child support calculations.

To establish or modify child support orders, the courts may also require you to cooperate with legal proceedings, which may involve providing information and attending hearings or mediation sessions. It's advisable to consult with a Puyallup attorney specializing in child support for guidance on Pierce County child support eligibility. They can provide information about your situation and help you navigate the legal process.

Where Do I Apply For Child Support In Puyallup?

To apply for child support in Puyallup, Washington, you typically start by contacting the Washington State Division of Child Support (DCS). Here's how to do it:

  • Online Application: You can apply for child support online by visiting the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) website. You'll need to create an account and fill out an application form with information about yourself, the other parent, and the child or children for whom you seek support.
  • Phone: You can also apply for child support by phone. Call the Washington State Division of Child Support at 1-800-442-KIDS (1-800-442-5437) to speak with a representative and start the application process. They provide assistance and guidance on how to proceed going forward.
  • In-Person: If you prefer to apply in person, visit the Pierce County Division of Child Support office or the Washington State Division of Child Support office closest to you. They can provide you with the necessary forms and assistance for completing the application.

Providing accurate and complete information when applying for child support is important to ensure your case is processed efficiently. Once you've submitted your application, the Division of Child Support will review your case and take appropriate steps to establish a child support order. They will also assist with enforcing and modifying child support orders as needed.

Consult your child custody attorney if you need help with the application process or have questions about child support in Puyallup. They can provide legal advice and guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Do I Need An Attorney For My Child Support Case?

It is usually best to work with a child support attorney, as they can navigate the specific laws and court procedures of Pierce County, ensuring that you handle yours with local legal expertise. We'll advocate for a fair and equitable child support arrangement by accurately representing your financial situation and child's needs. With our decades of legal experience, we can also foresee and address any potential complications, saving you time and stress in the long run by steering clear of frequent mistakes and adhering to all legal mandates.

In the event of a child custody situation, our dedicated child support lawyers are ready to address your inquiries. Reach out to us today to discuss your legal alternatives.

Client Reviews
Laurie has worked on my very challenging and contentious divorce and I could not have asked for a better family law attorney. She was able to handle all of the twists and turns of my case with ease. I highly recommend Laurie to anyone looking for an excellent, ethical and hard working counselor. Chandler
Laurie is an incredible divorce lawyer! She did an amazing job with my divorce, and it was a real dog fight the whole way. She is a true fighter. And you can tell that she really cares about her family law clients and the results that she achieves for them. John
My lawyer guided me through a very challenging time in my life when I was going through my divorce. She worked hard and explained every step of the way what was going on so I could understand the process. I was very happy with her work. Barbel