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Child Support Overview

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Federal Poverty Guidelines

If paying the basic support obligation would leave you with income below the federal poverty guidelines, the court should lower your monthly payment for current support.

Nonetheless, the court may order you to pay $50/month per child no matter what this does to your net income. RCW 26.19.065(2). The court may also order a deviation. The guidelines are updated each year. You can find the federal poverty guidelines here:


The court will order a deviation when there is good reason to do so. The court must:

  • consider all income and financial resources of all adults in each parent’s household. RCW 26.19.075(2).

  • look at your financial needs AND how lowering the support amount would affect the other parent’s household.

If you ask for a deviation, make sure you give proof that a deviation is proper under the circumstances. The Child Support Schedule describes many situations where the court can grant a deviation. Here are some potential factors:

  • You have other children to support. RCW 26.19.075(1)(e). You must prove the child either lives with you OR you must and do pay support for other children. The court will also take into account your spouse’s/partner’s income, any child support or benefits the other children get, and both households’ total circumstances. There is no set formula the court must use.

  • You split custody, or you have lots of visitation with the children AND they are not on public assistance. These deviations should be limited to situations where the paying parent has much more than every other weekend and a mid-week visit. A parent who wants this deviation should also show how much more the parent spends on the child due to all the time they spend together, and any savings to the other parent.

Judgments | Expiration

Judgments can be continuously renewed by an attorney in the court where the judgment was entered.

On the other hand, the laws of your state may not allow you to continuously renew a child support judgment. Thus, it is important to meet with your attorney and discuss a plan on collecting your judgment amount.

As always, speak to an attorney first.


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