It is important to know what responsibilities you might have towards child support. Washington’s Economic Services Administration (ESA) Division of Child Support (DCS) can inform you of what your child support responsibilities may be. The DCS can also provide you with important information if you need child support.
The parent that the child lives with is the one who is owed child support by the other parent. If child spends equal amounts of time living with each parent, the court will take that into account and may reduce your child support amount.
To petition for child support, you can either go through the court system or ask for help from DCS. In order to move your case along, you should be prepared to provide the most recent address of the other parent, their social security number, their current employer and pay rate, and any other pertinent financial information.
If child support is not paid, DCS can garnish the nonpaying parent’s wages directly. It can also take the support from other forms of income, such as unemployment, Social Security disability, or retirement benefits. Funds can also be taken from the parent’s bank account, tax refund or their property might be sold. A non-paying parent also risks losing their professional or driver’s license or being found in contempt of court and sent to jail.
Nonpayment does not give the custodial parent the right to prohibit visitation. Thus, the custodial parent cannot stop the other parent from visiting the child, even if the parent that owes child support has not paid or is behind on payments. If you are owed visitation and the other parent is interfering, you have the right to go to court to have visitation enforced.
If you believe you should not be paying child support, you can legally have it terminated. You should never decide on your own to just stop payments. Doing so can be risky and lead to serious consequences. While child support does not end on its own in Washington until the child turns 18, graduates high school, or gets married, you can always agree with the other parent to end child support and petition the court to end child support. Also, if you question whether you are the father, you have the right to ask for a paternity test in court to show that you are not the father.
You should reach out to a family law lawyer in Washington if you are facing complications with your child support order. Having a lawyer represent you in child support proceedings can be immensely helpful.
Last Modified: 07-04-2018 06:12 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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