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LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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Hi, This query is specifically re Washington state law (for

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This query is specifically re Washington state law (for SouthEast WA Superior Court jurisdictions, if specifying the sub-region even matters).

There is an established Child Support WorkSheet, used to calculate Amounts ordered/ orderable for Child support, based on Income(s) of the two Parents.

Is there - or are there specific - Law/ Laws in WA, that mandates the Court to stick to the Child Support worksheet, in structuring/ calculating the Child Support Payment?

To give an example of the answers sought OR In other words, CAN the Court Arbitrarily/ Capriciously or otherwise, order a Child Support plus Spousal Maintenance Monthly award exceed, say, 90 % or 100% of Disposable or even Total Income of the Paying - or non-Custodial Parent?

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

The WA court is not obligated to specifically abide by the child support guidelines. They are only guidelines. However, there must be a reasonable basis to deviate from the guidelines.

In pertinent part, the WA Codes states:

Written findings of fact supported by the evidence: An order for child support shall be supported by written findings of fact upon reasons for any deviation from the standard calculation and reasons for denial of a party's request for deviation from the standard calculation. RCW 26.19.035(2).

All deviations that vary from the standard calculation must be accounted for by the judge in Written Findings.

And yes, while it would be a rare circumstance, I can envision an instance where a judge might order support in an amount far in excess of the guidelines. Keep in mind that the guidelines are based on income. If a paying parent is deliberately under employed or underemployed, the judge may impute income and base support levels on what the person could earn if they were willing to work. This is a rarity though that this happens.

And just because a person may lose their job does not mean that the court will immediately lower support. Something like this could result in support levels being close to actual income earned--especially if that income is zero, or just unemployment benefits.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you when our communication is completed.

I wish you the best in 2013,


LawTalk and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Good evening Philip,

I wanted to thank you for using JustAnswer, and to inquire whether my answer to you was helpful to your understanding of the law, as regards XXXXX XXXXX

Is there anything else that I can assist you with, please feel free to ask. If you do not require further legal information at this time, please feel free to bookmark my profile so you can request me when you do have another question. Here is a link to my profile:

Thank you very much and take care.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Doug,


Thanks for the answer and the follow up.


Your answer does appear very helpful - so far. Whether thus WILL translate into meaningful help in my quest for a legal but fair adjudication of the issues involved (there having been no intentional underemployment/ income-loss though there WAS fall in income and job), remains to be seen - as I have had to come to learn of our judicial system.


The more relevant RCWs I can quote, the better I may end up being, and you have at least furnished me one.


I shall do as you suggested - I hope to have more questions for you in coming days. (May not be in Family Law, though).



Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Philip. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise.

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have:

Thanks again.


When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.