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Low-income parents may have trouble paying child support

No one denies that it is important to pay child support on time and in full. However, there are a variety of reasons why even well-meaning parents in Gig Harbor are unable to pay their required amount of child support.

According to current federal guidelines, the state of Washington, as well as all other states in the nation, can issue a wage garnishment of as much as 65 percent of the paying parent's income before tax in order to cover the paying parent's child support obligations. In addition, of those paying parents whose yearly income is under $10,000, this could mean that a median of 83 percent of their wages is used to pay child support.

The failure to pay child support affects all members of a family, and it goes without saying that raising a child is an expensive endeavor. The paying parent could face jail time, and child support arrearages are not cancelled, even if the parent files for bankruptcy or the child reaches age 18. The failure to pay child support means that the receiving parent may not have the financial resources needed to raise the child. And of course, the child suffers as well.

In the end, if a paying parent feels like he or she is unable to meet his or her child support obligations, he or she may want to consult a family law attorney. It may be possible to seek a child support modification from the court, in order to make his or her child support obligation more manageable. However, it is important that even if a parent seeks a child support modification, that he or she continues to make his or her required child support payments in the meantime, since arrearages will continue to accumulate up until the point of modification. This post can only provide general information about child support; an attorney can provide legal advice tailored to an individual's specific situation.

Source: KAWC.org, "From Deadbeat To Dead Broke: The 'Why' Behind Unpaid Child Support," Jennifer Ludden, Nov. 19, 2015

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