Washington Child Support

How to Apply for Child Support in Washington

Applications for enforcement of the support should be sent to the Washington State Support Registry. There are separate sets of paperwork to fill out for custodial parents with support orders, custodial parents without support orders, non-custodial parents with support orders and non-custodial parents without support orders. Applications can be obtained online or by visiting one of the nine Division of Child Support offices in the state. Download Forms.

How to Calculate Child Support in Washington?

Payments in Washington are calculated by factoring in the monthly take-home pay of the person responsible for support, the monthly take-home pay of the person who will receive the support, the number of children involved and how many of those children are under the age of 12.

How to Claim and Pay Child Support?

Payments can be claimed via direct deposit or through a DCS debit card. Payments can be mailed to the Washington State Support Registry or sent via an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

Child Support Performance Stats for Washington

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services is responsible for reporting on the performance of the Department of Child Support.

Statistics for Regular On-Time Payments Collection

Other Incentive Performance Measures

Performance Measures 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Statewide Paternity Establishment (%) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
IV-D Paternity Establishment (%) 101.31 100.05 97.19 98.67 99.16
Support Order Establishment (%) 90.48 91.15 92.65 93.16 93.35
Cost-Effectiveness ($) 5.05 4.97 4.56 4.54 4.27

Total Number of Children in the Child Support Program

Total Distributed Collections and Total Administrative Expenditures ($ Millions)

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total Distributed Collections ($) 644.11 651.73 641.62 637.49 640.49
Total Distributed to Families ($) 579.06 591.6 587.37 588.57 591.83
Total Administrative Expenditures ($) 135.6 139.34 149.59 149.59 159.7

Average Collections per Case with Collections

Can the support be paid off early?

Support can be paid off early. However, changes in circumstances could change the total amount of support that is due.

What Will Happen if You fall Behind The Support Payment?

The Department of Child Support will use all legal means necessary to collect missed support payments. This includes contacting an employer and garnishing wages.

Can you get alimony and at the same time?

Alimony has no impact on support payments. It is possible to receive both at the same time.

Can you stop the support payments?

You cannot stop making support payments unless you have been given permission from the Department of Child Support or a court due to a change in circumstances.

Child Support and Taxes

Payments are not considered taxable income in Washington.

Can the support payments be claimed on taxes in Washington?

Payments are not deductible.

How does my child support affect my taxes in Washington?

Payments generally do not affect the taxes of the payer or the recipient.

Can child support be taken pre-tax?

Payments cannot be taken from a paycheck on a pre-tax basis.

Can child support Take my federal tax return?

Tax returns can be seized as a way to make up for late or incomplete payments.

Paternity Establishment

Establishing parentage for a child is necessary when seeking payment enforcement in Washington. This is done through a specific process.

How do you establish paternity?

Paternity in Washington can be established by marriage, court order or an acknowledgment affidavit.

What rights does a father have if not on the birth certificate?

A father who is not on a birth certificate essentially does not have any rights until paternity can be established.

Can a mother refuse me paternity test?

A court can order a paternity test if a mother is unwilling to submit to one.

How to establish paternity if the father is deceased?

Paternity can usually be established using the DNA of a family member if a father is deceased.

Can a father get a paternity test without the mother?

A court can order a paternity test if a mother is unwilling to submit to one.

How long does a father have to establish paternity in Washington?

A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity should be completed at the hospital when a child is born. However, there is essentially no cap on when paternity can be established.

Support Order Establishment

Applications for support order establishment are processed through the Division of Child Support office in Tacoma. It may be necessary to go through the process of establishing paternity on a voluntary or involuntary basis before an order can be established.

State Child Support Orders

Support orders do not change automatically due to life circumstances once they are in place. However, the Division of Child Support will review orders if changes are requested.

Can the support be modified?

Support in Washington can be modified if certain circumstances apply.

Support in Washington can be modified three years after an order is entered or if a significant change in circumstances has occurred.

How do I file for a modification of child support?

Modifications in Washington can be made based on an administrative order or court order.

Can a support order appealed?

A petition for an appeal may be made through the court and a judge may review an order.

Do you need a lawyer to modify the support?

A lawyer is not required when modifying support. However, seeking legal representation is strongly recommended.

Child Support Enforcement

How long does the support enforcement take?

Enforcement times will depend on factors like whether or not paternity needs to be established or if a hearing is required.

What to do when the support is not paid?

The Division of Child Support should be alerted if payments are not received.

What Happens if I’m not paying the support?

The Division of Child Support will use all legal means necessary to collect missed payments. Nonpayment could amount to a felony.

How much overdue child support payment can be considered a felony?

Payments that are overdue by two years or more or that exceed $10,000.

Can the support debt be forgiven?

The support debt can sometimes be forgiven. For instance, veterans in Washington can have the support debts forgiven if it is unlikely that they will ever be able to make the payments.

Support Order Termination

How do I stop a support order?

A petition for modification must be filed.

When Can I Apply for the Support Termination?

When changes in circumstances regarding custody or life events occur.

Can the custodial parent close a support case?

While a custodial parent can petition to have a support case closed, only a Washington court has the ability to officially close a case.

When Can I Stop Paying the Support?

Payments can stop when a child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school.

The legal age to stop paying the support is 18 years old.

Washington Hearing Rights

Any party may request a hearing once the Division of Child Support (DCS) attempts to establish, enforce or change an order for the support.

WA Child Support Guidelines

There are specific guidelines for what is covered in order in Washington.

WA Child Support Coverage

What is the support meant to cover?

Support is meant to cover all costs associated with a child under the age of 18.

Does the Support Cover Medical Care Expenses?

Medical care expenses or insurance coverage may be required if specified in an order.

What if Both Parents are working, will the Support Cover child care services?

Childcare services can be covered by support payments under Washington Child Support laws.

Are Car Maintenance Costs Covered by the Support?

Maintenance costs for a car that is used to transport a child can be covered by the support.

What is Considered Basic Entertainment for the Support?

Access to computers, the Internet, television shows, vacations, and activities.

Are College and School expenses Covered by the Support?

A support obligation may be extended to cover college expenses in some cases. However, this is not automatic.

Costs related to education for children under the age of 18 are often covered.

Are Extracurricular Activities covered by Support?

They typically are.

Washington Child Support Offices

Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Division of Child Support | DSHS Division of Child Support Tacoma, Washington ken-imail@dshs.wa.gov (360) 664-5321 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/division-child-support

County Child Support Offices in WA

County name Institution name Physical address Email address Phone number Website
Snohomish County Snohomish County, WA Everett Child Support Office 840 N Broadway Ste 400 Building B, Everett, WA everett-dcs@dshs.wa.gov 1(425) 438-4800 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Everett
Benton County Benton County, WA Kennewick Child Support Office 1120 N. Edison St., Kennewick, WA 99336 ken-imail@dshs.wa.gov 1(509) 374-2000 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Kennewick
Thurston County Thurston County, WA Tumwater Child Support Office TC3, 5th Floor, 243 Israel Road, Tumwater, WA 98501 oly-imail@dshs.wa.gov 1(360) 664-6900 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Olympia
King County King County, WA Seattle Child Support Office 500 First Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104 seattle-dcs@dshs.wa.gov 1(206) 341-7000 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Seattle
Spokane County Spokane County, WA Spokane Child Support Office W. 1608 Boone, Spokane, WA 99201 spomail@dshs.wa.gov 1(509) 363-5000 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Spokane
Pierce County Pierce County, WA Tacoma Child Support Office 1949 S State Street, 3rd floor, Tacoma, WA 98405 tacoma-dcs@dshs.wa.gov 1(253) 597-3700 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Tacoma
Clark County Clark County, WA Vancouver Child Support Office 800 NE 136th Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98684 vancouver-dcs@dshs.wa.gov 1(360) 696-6100 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Vancouver
Chelan County Chelan County, WA Wenatchee Child Support Office 805 S. Mission, Wenatchee, WA 98801 wenatchee-dcs@dshs.wa.gov 1(509) 886-6800 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Wenatchee
Yakima County Yakima County, WA Yakima Child Support Office 1002 North 16th Avenue, Yakima, WA 98902 yak-imail@dshs.wa.gov 1(509) 249-6000 https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/child-support-find-an-office?field_child_support_locations_value=Yakima