In Washington State, like other states, the court considers many factors when making a ruling for child support.

Typically, the court orders the non-custodial parent to provide child support to the custodial parent. This is because the court assumes the custodial parent – who spends the most time with the child – will provide support for the child directly.


Frequently Asked Child Support Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about child support laws in Washington State.

Do you have to be married to get child support?

No, parents have a legal responsibility to provide care and support for their children regardless of their marital status.

How long will I have to pay child support?

Typically, you must pay child support until your child turns 18 or graduates high school. The court only mandates college expenses under certain circumstances. The court may order you to pay continued child support beyond the age of 18 if your child is disabled or otherwise medically dependent on their custodial parent.

Will the other parent be required to provide accounting on how child support is spent?

No, the parent receiving child support is not legally required to tell you how financial support is being spent.

What if my spouse chooses not to work?

A capable parent cannot choose not to work to get out of paying child support.

What if my spouse purposely leaves a high paying job for a low paying job to decrease child support payments?
The court will see this as voluntary underemployment and consider their income based on the income they were capable of making.

What if my spouse doesn’t comply with the child support order?

Not complying with child support is a contempt of court. After past child support becomes due it will start to collect interest. The state can legally pursue your spouse for this child support up to 10 years after the child turns 18.

Do you need a child support lawyer?

Whether you need a child support lawyer depends on where you are in the legal process. While you should absolutely have a lawyer during the process of determining child support, you may not need a lawyer to help with enforcement. Many people do hire lawyers to represent them if they have to go back to court because their ex stopped obeying the child support order.

Your spouse is legally obligated to pay child support. The state will come after your spouse with fines and potentially jail time for contempt of court.

Determining child support can be a complex and time-consuming process. Whether you are the custodial and noncustodial parent, you can benefit from speaking to an experienced child support lawyer in Washington State.

Please contact us today or send us an email at to discuss your child support case.