What is Extrapolated Income in a Child Support Order and When Will It Be Awarded?

Anne B. Bennette, Edmonds Lawyer

In Washington State, child support is a statutory calculation based on the parent’s combined net income.  This figure can be found in RCW 26.19.020 (the ‘Child Support Economic Table.’).  For example, if the combined net income of each parent equals $11,000/month, then Washington State has determined that the basic support obligation in a one-child family is $1,545/month.  This basic obligation is then assigned proportionately to the parents.  In this case, if the parents have equal net income, then the total standard child support payment from one parent to the other will be $772.50/month (50% of the total basic support obligation).

However, the combined monthly net income in the economic table is capped at $12,000/month.  So, what happens if the parents make significantly more than that?

Per RCW 26.19.020, “when combined income exceeds this amount, the court may exceed the presumptive amount upon written findings of fact.”  If the court does exceed the presumptive amount, it must do so based on the needs of the children commensurate with the parents’ incomes, resources, and standard of living. In re Marriage of McCausland, 159 Wn.2d 607, 619-20, 152 P.3d 1013 (2007).  The court will not simply extrapolate the amounts on the table upwards to fit the parents’ higher incomes.

The trial court is directed by the statute to determine if it should exceed the presumptive amount at the top of the economic table.  If it is inclined to do so, it must consider the children’s needs and the parents’ resources and the parent’s standard of living. Accordingly, in cases where one or both parents have a high net income, the Court is required at least weigh exceeding the standard transfer payment, but it must have evidence of the child’s needs, evidence of the parents’ resources, and evidence of the standard of living.  These are non-exclusive factors in determining whether to extrapolate income and exceed the standard amount, but a trial court cannot extrapolate a child support payment simply based on income alone.

Our Family Law Group is available to assist you with all family law related matters including dissolutions, separations, support, and parenting plan matters. 

To learn more about What is Extrapolated Income in a Child Support Order and When Will It Be Awarded?, please contact Beresford Booth at info@beresfordlaw.com or by phone at (425) 776-4

BERESFORD BOOTH has made this content available to the general public for informational purposes only. The information on this site is not intended to convey legal opinions or legal advice.