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Limits on child support payments under Washington law-Part I

Child support may be one of the biggest concerns for many Washington State noncustodial parents. In many cases, the noncustodial parent may have multiple child support payment obligations. In such cases, the authorities may determine the amount of the child support payments due to each child based on various factors, such as both biological parents' income and the best interest of the child in question.

State authorities also have devised a method to determine how much child support one individual may be liable for in total. As a standard rule, a resident of Washington State may not be obligated to pay more than 45 percent of his or her total annual income toward child support. This standard is firm, irrespective of the number of child support payments the person may be obligated to pay.

In certain cases, however, the judge can make an exception to the 45% maximum. Such cases solely rely on the facts and merits of individual case where the best interest of the child dictates a larger amount of child support be paid. The comparative hardship for both parents in terms of the recommended support obligation is relevant because of factors such as disability, imprisonment or other incapacities may also factor into the decision.

Bonafide causes that may be an exception to the general 45 percent rule may include special health care needs of the child, the wealth of the parent, day care expenses or any other reason that the court may deem appropriate. In most cases, the parents may consider consulting an attorney for help.

Source: Washington State Legislature, "RCW 26.19.065 - Standards do for establishing lower and upper limits on child support amounts", accessed April 10, 2015

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