If you are currently undergoing a divorce that involves child support or facing any other child support-related issue, it is crucial to recognize that the final orders you receive will have a significant impact on your financial future and that of your children. Ensuring accuracy in this matter is of utmost importance. Instead of leaving this important issue to chance, it is advisable to work closely with a committed child support lawyer in Bellevue.
Child Support Legal Obligations
Both parents are legally obligated to financially support their children until they reach adulthood, and child support serves as the legal mechanism to ensure balanced financial support from both parents. While child support calculations are based on state guidelines, the court ultimately exercises discretion in the process.
Typically, the parent with visitation rights pays child support to the parent with whom the children primarily reside, contributing towards the daily expenses of raising and providing for their shared children. Even if the children split their time equally between both parents, child support still plays a role.
This is because child support calculations consider each parent’s income, ability to pay, and other important factors, all while prioritizing the best interests of the children. In most cases, a parent with significantly higher income pays child support to the other parent, ensuring greater financial equity in both households, regardless of shared custody arrangements.
Regrettably, it’s a common occurrence for homeowners and contractors to forego formal written agreements, instead relying on bids or invoices. This practice has resulted in numerous lawsuits due to misunderstandings that could have been avoided if the parties had clarified their expectations from the outset. To prevent such conflicts, it’s crucial to include specific construction tasks in writing, written change orders for any work beyond the original contract, an attorney’s fees clause, payment dates and schedules, and a total project cost not to exceed. If you’re a homeowner and a contractor took your deposit but failed to complete or poorly executed the work, you can seek legal action against them and their bond if available.
On the other hand, if you’re a contractor and a homeowner refuses to pay you for your agreed-upon work, you can file a lien on the property where the work was carried out to secure payment.
Basic Child Support Guidelines
The amount owed by the obligor (the parent responsible for paying child support) is determined through a relatively straightforward calculation process, which includes the following:
- Child support is based on the obligor’s net income, derived from total monthly income minus taxes, union dues withheld from pay, and health insurance expenses for their children.
- The percentage of monthly income paid by the obligor depends on net earnings not exceeding $9,200 per month (this figure is recalculated every six years).
- The obligor is required to pay 20 percent of their monthly net income in child support for one child, with an additional 5 percent for each additional child (up to 40 percent for five children). If the obligor is responsible for supporting six or more children, the amount cannot be lower than what is required for five children.
- If the obligor is already paying child support for children from a different relationship, it may affect the amount paid in the current case.
- While these guidelines are generally straightforward, it is essential to recognize that they serve as a framework, and the final child support order may deviate from them.
The Court's Discretion
The court utilizes the child support guidelines as a guide but exercises considerable discretion to ensure that child support orders align with the best interests of the children, which is its primary consideration. The court takes into account various factors, including:
- The children’s ages and specific needs
- Each parent’s ability to contribute to their children’s support
- The amount of time each parent spends with the children
- The overall financial resources available to support the children
- The cost of childcare services
- The expenses for special or extraordinary education
- The healthcare costs for the children beyond what is covered by insurance
These factors, among many others, can significantly impact the outcome of your child support case. Child support cases are inherently complex, and it is crucial to have a dedicated child support lawyer in Bellevue to safeguard your case and prioritize your children’s well-being.