Calculating and Documenting Child Support Awards Under Washington Law

Helen Donigan, Calculating and Documenting Child Support Awards Under Washington Law, 26 Gonz. L. Rev. 13 (1990).


In 1984, Congress unanimously passed a requirement that each state develop child support guidelines by October 1, 1987.’ The guidelines could be established “by law or by judicial or administrative action.”Subsequent regulation required the guidelines to be based on “specific descriptive and numeric criteria and result in a computation of the support obligation.”As of 1988, the guidelines are required to result in presumptive amounts of support, although deviation is allowed in certain situations. Since that time all fifty states have adopted child support schedules or guidelines.

The 1987 Washington State Legislature created a Child Support Schedule Commission, which was to study economic data and recommend a child support schedule to the Legislature.The Schedule recommended by the Commission was adopted by the 1988 Washington Legislature, with an effective date of July 1, 1988.8 The Schedule was subsequently revised in 19899 and 1990.10 This article will discuss the basic concepts in the new support laws, with an emphasis on the presumptive level of support, the use of discretion, and deviations from the presumptive amount of support. . .

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