Child support is available in dissolution, legal separation and establishment of paternity cases. Both parents owe a duty of support to any dependent children of the relationship. The State of Washington has an interest in making sure that parents take financial care of their children so that the obligation does not fall to the State and taxpayers. The state does not allow parents to agree to waive child support. The legislature created a child support schedule that determines the amount of child support due. The schedule takes into account the age of the child, the number of children in the family and the family income. When a parent is not working but is able to work his/her income will be imputed for child support purposes at the level of employment at which the parent is capable and qualified. The support obligation is then divided between the parents based on each parent’s share of the combined family income. The Court will order the parents to pay the amount calculated under the statute unless specific reasons to deviate from that amount are present. RCW 26.19.075(1) lists the circumstances under which a Court will allow a deviation.
Child support generally terminates upon the death of the parent owing support or when the child for whom support is owed turns eighteen or no longer attends high school. However, when a child attends college or vocational school following high school, postsecondary support is available to pay for that expense through the child’s twenty-third birthday. If a child is disabled and remains a dependent, post-secondary support may extend beyond the child’s twenty third birthday.