Legal Issues in Child Support Obligations
In most cases, you do not need a lawyer for enforcement or modification of child support. The amount is based on the Washington State child support guidelines, and the state's Division of Child Support (DCS) provides free collection services if the non-custodial parent fails to pay.
However, there may be situations in which you do need legal representation. For example, it is sometimes necessary to get a court order to correct a miscalculation by DCS of arrears (unpaid child support). In that event, Seattle area family law attorney Bruce Clement can capably protect your interests.
When Do You Need a Child Support Attorney?
You may need legal representation as the paying or recipient parent, for:
- Initial determination of child support at divorce
- Post-secondary support (see below)
- Contested paternity
- Contested modification
- Large amounts of child support arrears
- Interstate or international custody disputes
You probably do NOT need a lawyer for:
- Paternity actions to compel child support — The state can require a DNA test to establish paternity, and DCS will calculate support and enter the order in most cases.
- Collecting child support — DCS will collect unpaid child support on your behalf, and has authority to garnish wages.
- Voluntary modification of child support — The court will amend the order upon a substantial change in circumstance, such as job loss.
Paying for College
While child support typically ends when a child reaches age 18, parents in Washington State parents can be required to contribute Post Secondary Education Support (PSES) toward the costs of attending college. The amount of PSES can be a very contentious issue and the statutory guidelines are subject to interpretation. We can help you determine PSES obligations and represent you in court as necessary.
Contact Clement Law Center to arrange a free, initial consultation. Call 253-336-3607 or 888-351-6779 to schedule your appointment, or e-mail us.