2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup

2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup

The 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup has completed its work. The Final Report of the 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup was delivered to the Legislature on September 30, 2011.

RCW 26.19.025 establishes the Child Support Schedule Review Workgroup. The Governor must make appointments for the 2015 Workgroup by December 1, 2014. For information on how to apply to serve on the 2015 Workgroup, visit the Governor's web site at https://governor.wa.gov/boards-commissions/apply-serve.

DCS used the Support Schedule Workgroup listserv to communicate information for all subsequent Workgroups. As of December 2015 our provider for this listserv is changing. We will be reaching out to all members of the listserv to join our new list when it is up and running.

DCS will keep the SupportSchedule@dshs.wa.gov email address for all future Child Support Schedule Workgroups; between active Workgroups, we will store incoming messages for consideration by the next Workgroup.

If you have questions or concerns about your own child support case, please contact DCS at dcs-cru@dshs.wa.gov.

David Stillman presented the 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup Report to the House Judiciary Committee Work Session on Friday, December 2, 2011.

  • Click here to view the Presentation.
  • Click here to view the talking points for the Presentation.

The 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup delivered its Report to the Legislature on September 30, 2011.

  • Click here to read the Report.

There were no Minority Reports submitted by Workgroup Members.

  • Click here to see Minority Reports submitted by the public.

Who will be on the 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup?

  • See the 2011 Child Support Schedule roster.

Who will be on the 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup Subcommittees?

  • Click here to see the 2011 Workgroup Subcommittee Assignments.

Why Do We Review The Child Support Guidelines?

In order to maintain its federal funding, each state with a child support program under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act must establish "one set of guidelines" which must be used statewide for setting and modifying child support award amounts. In Washington State, our child support guidelines were developed and codified as the Washington State Child Support Schedule (WSCSS) under Chapter 26.19 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

Federal regulations provide specific instructions for states as they develop their child support guidelines:

  • At a minimum, a state's child support guidelines must do the following:
    • Take into consideration all earnings and income of the noncustodial parent.
    • Be based on specific descriptive and numeric criteria and result in a computation of the support obligation.
    • Provide for the child(ren)'s health care needs, through health insurance coverage or other means.
  • In order to provide some predictability and uniformity of application, the guidelines must provide a "rebuttable presumption" that the amount of the award which would result from the application of the guidelines is the correct amount of child support to be awarded.
  • To provide some flexibility, the guidelines must provide some criteria under which a parent could show that the strict application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate and rebut the presumption in that particular case.
  • If a parent succeeds in rebutting the presumptive support amount, there must be a written finding or specific finding on the record of a judicial or administrative proceeding that provides the presumptive amount of support, and a justification of why the child support order varies from the guidelines. Such a variation is called a deviation.

Once a state has adopted its child support guidelines, the state must then conduct a review of the guidelines at least every four years. This review, known as the "quadrennial review," is done to make sure that the guidelines still result in "appropriate child support award amounts." If the guidelines no longer do so, federal law requires the state to revise its child support guidelines. Because there is a federal preference that deviations should be limited, one way of determining whether the child support guidelines result in appropriate awards is to find out how many times deviations from the guidelines are granted.

In order to determine whether child support awards under the current guidelines are "appropriate," the state must use an analysis of information and data from various sources, including the following:

  • Research and economic data on the cost of raising children.
  • Data from child support orders entered in both court and administrative cases, gathered through sampling or other methods.
  • Research and data on the application of, and deviations from, the current child support guidelines.

History of the Review of the Washington State Child Support Schedule

How are the members of the 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup selected?

RCW 26.19.025 specifies the membership of the Workgroup:

There will be four legislators (two from the Senate and two from the House of Representatives).

The Governor appoints the other workgroup members, which include David Stillman, the Director of the Division of Child Support; a law professor; a member of the Washington State Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee (FLEC); an economist; a representative of the tribal community; a superior court judge; a superior court commissioner; a representative from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC); a prosecutor appointed by the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (WAPA); a representative from legal services; an administrative law judge from the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH); and three noncustodial parents and three custodial parents.

The governor appoints the Workgroup Chair from among the Workgroup members.

Why does DCS maintain the Workgroup's Webpage?

RCW 26.19.025(3) says that the Division of Child Support provides staff support to the Workgroup. In order to provide ongoing information about the progress of the Workgroup, the Division of Child Support maintains the webpage, the listserv and the email box. As things progress, we will continue to add new material (such as meeting information and the roster of Workgroup members) to this webpage.

What's New?

You can sign up for our Support Schedule Workgroup listserv, and we'll tell you when we add things to the 2011 Workgroup Materials. New items will carry a NEW ITEM designation for one week after posting.

Contact the Child Support Schedule Workgroup

Contact the Workgroup at SupportSchedule@dshs.wa.gov. Your comments will be forwarded to the Workgroup for consideration.

NOTICE: Any emails you send to the SupportSchedule@dshs.wa.gov e-mail address may be subject to public disclosure. Please review the DCS internet privacy policy before sending an email to the Workgroup.

Please note: DCS reserves the right not to forward any comments which contain profanity or threats, or go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse. If DCS staff determine that your email message violates these limits, we will respond and advise you that we will be happy to forward your comments if you are willing to edit the message appropriately.

When DCS receives an email at the supportschedule@dshs.wa.gov email box, we forward it to Workgroup members. In addition, we also send batches of these emails out on our listserv broadcast list, once or twice each month as time allows. You can read the emails submitted to the Workgroup without subscribing to our listserv by visiting the archives at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAESA/subscriber/new. Alternatively, you can join the Support Schedule Workgroup listserv and you will receive notice of new items on the web page as well as copies of these emails.

Note: When we forward emails via the listserv, we remove any personally-identifying information to protect the privacy rights of those submitting emails.

Please use the SupportSchedule@dshs.wa.gov e-mail address only for comments to the 2011 Child Support Schedule Workgroup. For specific case-related issues, click here to find out how to contact a DCS field office. For general information, you can call the KIDS Line at 1-800-442-KIDS. You can contact the DCS Community Relations Unit at DCS Headquarters at dcs-cru@dshs.wa.gov or 1-800-457-6202.

Child Support Schedule Workgroup Meeting Dates & Locations

The final scheduled in-person Workgroup meeting was held on September 9, 2011.

Subcommittee Teleconference Calls

The subcommittee calls are open to the public, and we have posted the final subcommittee list here.

Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee:

We will post the date and time if another call is scheduled.

The DCS staff person to staff this is George Smylie at GSmylie@dshs.wa.gov.

The Economic Table Subcommittee:

We will post the date and time if another call is scheduled.

The DCS staff person assigned to staff this is Nancy Koptur at NKoptur@dshs.wa.gov.

The Children From Other Relationship Subcommittee:

We will post the date and time if another call is scheduled.

The DCS staff person to staff this is Ellen Nolan at ENolan@dshs.wa.gov.

The Residential Credit Subcommittee:

We will post the date and time if another call is scheduled.

The DCS staff person to staff this is George Smylie at GSmylie@dshs.wa.gov.

For all subcommittee teleconference calls:

Participant Telephone Dial Pad Commands:
*0 - Operator Assistance
*6- Mute/Un-mute Own Line