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RCW 26.19.071: The Standards for Determination of Income for Child Support Purposes

When deciding the appropriate level of child support, the court has to determine the income of both parties involved (i.e. the parents). The determination of income (what’s included and what isn’t) is often the most important financial finding a court makes during an action involving child support. It has a lasting impact on both the obligor (paying spouse) and the obligee (receiving spouse).

It is important that you have competent and thorough counsel on your side when this determination is being made.

Some of the highlights of RCW 26.19.071 are provided below:

  1. When determining gross monthly income, courts include: salaries and wages; commissions; deferred compensations; overtime (except in certain circumstances); dividends; interest; trust income; annuities; capital gains; pension benefits and more. RCW 26.19.071(3)(a-u).
  2. Income may be imputed to you if you work less than full-time. This means that the court may attribute an income to you that you do not actually receive. RCW 26.19.071(6).
  3. When determining gross monthly income, courts exclude: income of a new spouse; child support received from other relationships; gifts and prizes; TANF; aged, blind or disabled assistance benefits; pregnant women assistance benefits; food stamps and overtime (in certain circumstances). RCW 26.19.071(a-i). (Please note, although excluded for purposes of determining gross monthly income, the courts require that they be made aware of all income, and the income may be considered if a deviation is requested.)
  4. When calculating net monthly income, courts exclude federal and state taxes; mandatory pension plan payments; mandatory union or professional dues; court-ordered maintenance; up to five thousand dollars per year in voluntary retirement contributions (so long as the contributor is able to show that s/he has been doing so for a year, and not for purposes of reducing child support, business expenses, and more. RCW 26.19.071(5)(a-h).

Please contact us if we can assist you in your child support matter.