Washington Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

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Washington Child Support Enforcement Resource Center

Even if the non-custodial parent lives in another state, Federal law requires cooperation between states. The non-custodial parent is required by law to make regular child support payments, regardless of where they live.

Washington Support Enforcement Measures

If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support, he or she is subject to enforcement measures by the State of Washington to collect regular and past-due payments.

  • Post names to the DCS Most Wanted website
  • Employment bonuses, assets held in financial institutions or in retirement funds and periodic lump sum payments parents receive from state or local agencies, including unemployment compensation and workmen’s compensation, may be seized.
  • Child support delinquency may be reported to credit reporting agencies.
  • Driver’s, professional, and hunting and fishing licenses may be suspended or applications denied.
  • Passport applications may be denied by the U.S. State Department.
  • Past-due child support may be collected from a parent’s federal and state income tax refunds, state or property tax credits, and state lottery winnings.
  • Liens may be filed against his or her property or other assets. Assets may be frozen or seized even when other account holders are listed with the obligor.
  • A case may be referred for contempt of court

Who Can Enforce Court Ordered Child Support in Washington

The official child support enforcement agency for the State of Washington is the Division of Child Support (DCS). The Washington Division of Child Support is required by federal law to provide child support enforcement services free of charge and is funded by the federal government and the State of Washington.

Full Time Equiv. Staff 1,649
Total Caseload 341,069

1 U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement, Boxscores for FY 2005

Interest on Missed Child Support Payments

The State of Washington doesn’t charge interest on missed child support payments. Interest on retroactive support or adjudicated arrears is allowed only if reduced to or included in the judgment.

WA Statute of Limitations on Back Child Support Payments (Arrears)

10 years after emancipation of youngest child for orders entered after 7/22/89; 10 years after a payment becomes delinquent for orders entered before 7/23/89.

WA Statute of Limitations on Determining Paternity

The statute of limitations for establishing paternity in the State of Washington is the age of majority of the child. Generally, 18 years old.

Age of Emancipation / Age of Majority in Washington State

18, unless an administrative order is in force and the child is full-time student expected to graduate before age 19.

Washington’s Guidelines for Determining Child Support Payments

The court determines the amount of child support payments in Washington. Child support may also be set administratively by the DCS. The amount of child support is generally determined by taking into account the incomes of both parents and the total number of children. However, any number of other factors may be applied as well such as the children’s age, certain deductions allowed to each parent, etc. The Washington State Child Support Worksheet is the typical starting place for determining support.

Custody and Visitation Issues

Child support and visitation rights are separate issues. The court determines both and will usually order the non-custodial parent to pay support and the custodial parent to make the child available for visits.

The custodial parent has a duty to obey the court order for visitation, even if the non-custodial parent cannot or will not pay child support. The court can enforce its orders against either parent.