Setting an accurate amount for child support is essential to a successful divorce case. Washington has a specific formula for setting child support to set an amount that is fair and will provide for the children’s needs. If a child has special needs or has extra expenses, a deviation from the typical child support guidelines may be necessary.
A deviation from the standard support schedule may be requested or ordered for a number of reasons. These reasons include the special medical, educational, or psychological needs of a child, among many others. The purpose of child support is to make sure that the child’s needs are met. Often, a special needs child has extra costs due to special educational and medical requirements. A parent is entitled to ask that the court take these extra costs into account when making a child support award.
However, a court is not required to actually make a deviation. Whether to increase the support award from the standard amount set by Washington guidelines is completely within the court’s discretion. In addition, although support typically will end once a child turns 18, a parent may ask that support be extended for a disabled child even after the child becomes turns 18. Again, this is within the court’s discretion and the court is not required to do so.
A parent may also ask for a deviation in child support for a child is exceptionally advanced in some way. For example, if a child is particularly gifted in swimming and requires special training, competitions, and equipment to foster that talent, a parent may ask for a deviation from support to help defray those costs. However, it should be noted that for a court to take such a request seriously, the talent must be truly exceptional. A court will be reluctant to order a parent to pay more support just because a child is good at a sport, absent an agreement between the parties.
If your child has special needs or has other exceptional costs, call our team today. We have helped many clients with the issue of deviation from the child support guidelines to help provide their children with what they need. Call today for an appointment at (253) 272-9459.