SECOND SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5120
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Nelson, Rasmussen, Thorsness, Stratton, Saling, McCaslin, Hayner, Erwin, L. Smith, Newhouse, Amondson, Johnson, Bailey, Gaspard, Vognild, Matson, West, Owen, Bauer, Snyder, Roach and Oke).
Read first time March 7, 1991.
AN ACT Relating to child support; amending RCW 26.19.010, 26.19.020, 26.19.060, 26.19.090, and 26.09.170; adding new sections to chapter 26.19 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 26.09 RCW; creating new sections; and repealing RCW 26.19.040.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. RCW 26.19.010 and 1988 c 275 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter:
"Child support schedule" means the standards ((
and economic table
adopted by the commission)) as defined under subsection (2) of this
section and the economic table provided in RCW 26.19.020;
(2) "Standards" means the standards for determination of child support which have been adopted by the commission, as modified by the legislature;
"Economic table" means the child support table for the basic support
which has been adopted by the commission)) provided in
"Worksheets" means the forms ((
adopted)) developed by
the (( commission)) administrator for the courts for use in
determining the amount of child support;
"Instructions" means the instructions ((
by the (( commission)) administrator for the courts for use in
completing the worksheets;
"Commission" means the Washington state child support schedule
commission established by RCW 26.19.030; ((
(7) "Standard calculation" means the amount of child support which is owed as determined from the worksheets before any deviation is considered;
(8) "Basic child support obligation" means the monthly obligation determined from the economic table based on the parties' combined monthly net income; and
(9) "Transfer payment" means the court-ordered amount one parent is obligated to pay to the other parent for child support.
Sec. 2. RCW 26.19.020 and 1990 1st ex.s. c 2 s 19 are each amended to read as follows:
approved by a majority vote of the superior court judges of a county, the
superior court may adopt by local court rule an economic table that shall be
used by the superior court of that county, instead of the economic table
adopted by the commission, to determine the appropriate amount of child
support. The economic table adopted by the superior court shall not vary by
more than twenty-five percent from the economic table adopted by the commission
and shall not vary the economic table for combined monthly net income of two
thousand five hundred dollars or less.))
The legislature adopts the following economic table:
MONTHLY BASIC SUPPORT OBLIGATION PER CHILD
KEY: A = AGE 0-11 B = AGE 12-18
MONTHLY ONE TWO
NET CHILD CHILDREN
INCOME FAMILY FAMILY
-------------------------------------------------------------------- A B A B
300 For income less than $600 the obligation
400 is based upon the resources and living expenses
500 of each household.
600 133 164 103 127
700 155 191 120 148
800 177 218 137 170
900 199 246 154 191
1000 220 272 171 211
1100 242 299 188 232
1200 264 326 205 253
1300 285 352 221 274
1400 307 379 238 294
1500 327 404 254 313
1600 347 428 269 333
1700 367 453 285 352
1800 387 478 300 371
1900 407 503 316 390
2000 427 527 331 409
2100 447 552 347 429
2200 467 577 362 448
2300 487 601 378 467
2400 506 626 393 486
2500 526 650 408 505
2600 534 661 416 513
2700 542 670 421 520
2800 549 679 427 527
2900 556 686 431 533
3000 561 693 436 538
3100 566 699 439 543
3200 569 704 442 546
3300 573 708 445 549
3400 574 710 446 551
3500 575 711 447 552
3600 577 712 448 553
3700 578 713 449 554
3800 581 719 452 558
3900 596 736 463 572
4000 609 753 473 584
4100 623 770 484 599
4200 638 788 495 611
4300 651 805 506 625
4400 664 821 516 637
4500 677 836 525 649
4600 689 851 535 661
4700 701 856 545 673
4800 713 882 554 685
4900 726 897 564 697
5000 738 912 574 708
MONTHLY THREE FOUR FIVE
NET CHILDREN CHILDREN CHILDREN
INCOME FAMILY FAMILY FAMILY
A B A B A B
300 For income less than $600 the obligation
400 is based upon the resources and living expenses
500 of each household.
600 86 106 73 90 63 78
700 100 124 85 105 74 91
800 115 142 97 120 84 104
900 129 159 109 135 95 118
1000 143 177 121 149 105 130
1100 157 194 133 164 116 143
1200 171 211 144 179 126 156
1300 185 228 156 193 136 168
1400 199 246 168 208 147 181
1500 212 262 179 221 156 193
1600 225 278 190 235 166 205
1700 238 294 201 248 175 217
1800 251 310 212 262 185 228
1900 264 326 223 275 194 240
2000 277 342 234 289 204 252
2100 289 358 245 303 213 264
2200 302 374 256 316 223 276
2300 315 390 267 330 233 288
2400 328 406 278 343 242 299
2500 341 421 288 356 251 311
2600 346 428 293 362 256 316
2700 351 435 298 368 259 321
2800 356 440 301 372 262 324
2900 360 445 305 376 266 328
3000 364 449 308 380 268 331
3100 367 453 310 383 270 334
3200 369 457 312 386 272 336
3300 371 459 314 388 273 339
3400 372 460 315 389 274 340
3500 373 461 316 390 275 341
3600 374 462 317 391 276 342
3700 375 463 318 392 277 343
3800 377 466 319 394 278 344
3900 386 477 326 404 284 352
4000 395 488 334 413 291 360
4100 404 500 341 422 298 368
4200 413 511 350 431 305 377
4300 422 522 357 441 311 385
4400 431 532 364 449 317 392
4500 438 542 371 458 323 400
4600 446 552 377 467 329 407
4700 455 562 384 475 335 414
4800 463 572 391 483 341 422
4900 470 581 398 491 347 429
5000 479 592 404 500 353 437
When combined monthly income exceeds five thousand dollars per month, child support shall be determined by that amount from the table. The judge, in his or her discretion, may order an additional amount to be paid in cases with unusual or extraordinary circumstances.
The economic table shall remain in effect until revised by the legislature.
Sec. 3. RCW 26.19.060 and 1988 c 275 s 7 are each amended to read as follows:
support schedule ((
under RCW 26.19.040)) shall be published in the
Washington State Register. The (( commission)) administrator for the
courts shall also request that the supreme court cause the child support
schedule to be published in the official advance sheets of the supreme court of
Washington. The (( commission)) administrator for the courts
shall also request that the Washington state bar association publish the child
support schedule in the Washington state bar news.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. A new section is added to chapter 26.19 RCW to read as follows:
(1) A parent obligated to pay child support may file a motion for an accounting of how the support is being spent by the receiving parent. The parent filing the motion must meet the following conditions prior to filing the motion:
(a) The parent filing the motion must be obligated to pay at least fifty percent of the basic child support obligation;
(b) If support is owed for one child, the parent must be obligated to pay at least three hundred dollars per month in child support; for two children, the parent must be obligated to pay at least five hundred twenty-five dollars per month in child support; for three or more children, the parent must be obligated to pay at least six hundred sixty dollars per month in child support; and
(c) The parent must be current in all child support payments.
(2)(a) The motion for an accounting must be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth facts demonstrating that the parent receiving support is not spending a substantial portion of the child support for the direct or indirect benefit of the child. The motion, affidavit, and notice of hearing shall be served on the parent receiving support. The only issue at the preliminary hearing on the motion shall be whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the support is directly or indirectly benefiting the child.
(b) If the court determines at the preliminary hearing that the motion and affidavit establish reasonable cause to believe that a substantial portion of the support is not directly or indirectly benefiting the child the court may: (i) Set a show cause hearing on the motion and affidavit; or (ii) order the parents to mediate the issue with a court commissioner, family court commissioner, or other appropriate person. The court's order shall be in writing and shall set forth the facts which establish reasonable cause. The parent receiving support may be required to produce at the show cause hearing such documentation as the court determines is necessary to resolve the issue and which is reasonably available to the parent. The parent receiving support shall not be required to provide documentation for expenditures for more than six months prior to the time of the filing of the motion.
(c) If the court determines at the preliminary hearing that the motion and affidavit do not establish reasonable cause to believe that a substantial portion of the support is directly or indirectly benefiting the child, the court shall order the parent filing the motion and affidavit to pay costs and statutory attorneys' fees to the parent receiving the support.
The court may award reasonable attorneys' fees to the parent receiving support if the court determines that:
(i) The motion was brought in bad faith, for harassment, or frivolously; or
(ii) The motion was based on material statements of fact which were false.
(3) If at the show cause hearing on the motion and affidavit the parent obligated to pay support demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial portion of the support is not directly or indirectly benefiting the child, the court shall enter an appropriate order directing the parent receiving the support to spend the child support to benefit the child. The court may order the child support payments to be paid to a protective payee for the benefit of the child. The only issue at the hearing on the motion shall be whether the parent receiving support is spending support to directly or indirectly benefit the child.
(4) A motion and affidavit for an accounting of child support expenditures may not be filed more than once every twelve months.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. A new section is added to chapter 26.19 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, monthly gross income for child support purposes shall include income from any source, including: Salaries, wages, commissions, deferred compensation, bonuses, mandatory overtime, dividends, interest, trust income, severance pay, annuities, capital gains, pension retirement benefits, social security retirement benefits, workers' compensation, unemployment benefits, and spousal maintenance that is actually received.
(2) Monthly gross income for the preceding year for child support purposes shall include income from voluntary overtime pay above one hundred sixty-eight hours per month, income from employment in excess of forty hours per week to the extent derived from a second job, nonrecurring bonuses, contract-related cash benefits, gifts, and prizes, except to the extent that income from those sources exceeds the average income from those sources for the second and third years preceding the commencement of the action under chapter 26.09, 26.10, or 26.26 RCW.
(3) The court shall deduct the following from gross income: Federal and state income taxes, federal insurance contributions act deductions, mandatory pension plan payments, mandatory union or professional dues, court-ordered spousal maintenance to the extent actually paid, up to two thousand dollars per year in voluntary pension payments actually made if the contributions were made for the three consecutive years prior to the filing of the dissolution, and court-ordered payments of child support for children from other relationships to the extent actually paid. All items excluded from income shall be disclosed in the worksheet.
(4) The court may deduct normal business expenses and self-employment taxes for self-employed persons. Justification shall be required for any business expense deduction about which there is disagreement.
(5) The following resources shall be disclosed, shall not be included in gross income, and shall not be reason to deviate from the standard calculation: Aid to families with dependent children, supplemental security income, general assistance, veterans aid and attendance allowance, and food stamps.
(6) The following income shall be disclosed, shall not be included in gross income, but may be a reason to deviate from the standard calculation:
(a) Income of a new spouse or income of other adults in the household;
(b) Child support received from other relationships; and
(c) Income excluded from subsection (2) of this section.
(7) (a) Children from relationships other than the relationship of the parties before the court shall not be counted for determining the number of children in the family for purposes of calculating the basic support obligation. The court may not consider, for purposes of deviation in calculating the amount of child support payable, any children for whom the court has allowed a deduction from gross income for court-ordered child support payments.
(b) The court may consider deviating from the presumptive basic support obligation when there are children from other relationships and the court has not allowed a deduction from gross income for payments of child support for those children pursuant to subsection (3) of this section. Deviations under this section from the presumptive basic support obligation due shall be based on consideration of the total circumstances of both households.
(8) The court shall consider deviating from the standard calculation if the child spends a significant amount of time with the parent who is obligated to pay child support. In determining what constitutes a significant amount of time, the court shall consider the amount of time spent with each parent, as well as the income and expenses of both parents, the amount of the child support obligation, and the financial impact to both parents of the time spent with the parent obligated to pay child support. The court shall not use this subsection to restrict either parent's contact or visitation with the child or children.
(9) Additional reasons that may support a deviation from the standard calculation include: Possession of wealth, shared living arrangements, extraordinary debts that have not been voluntarily incurred, extraordinarily high income of a child, a significant disparity of the living costs of the parents due to conditions beyond their control, and special needs of disabled children. A deviation may be supported by tax planning considerations only if the child would not receive a lesser economic benefit as a result of the tax planning.
(10) The court shall enter findings which specify reasons for any deviations from the standard calculation made by the court.
(11) Agreement of the parties is not by itself adequate reason for deviation from the standard calculation.
(12) Neither parent's total child support obligation shall exceed fifty percent of net income unless good cause is shown. Good cause may include possession of substantial wealth, children with day care expenses, special medical, educational, psychological needs, and larger families.
(13) The court shall impute income to a parent when the parent is voluntarily underemployed or voluntarily unemployed. The court shall determine whether the parent is voluntarily underemployed or voluntarily unemployed based upon that parent's work history. A parent shall not be deemed voluntarily underemployed as long as that parent is gainfully employed on a full-time basis. Income shall not be imputed for an unemployable parent.
Sec. 6. RCW 26.19.090 and 1990 1st ex.s. c 2 s 9 are each amended to read as follows:
child support schedule shall be advisory and not mandatory for postsecondary
educational support. When considering whether to order support for
postsecondary educational expenses, the court shall determine whether the child
is in fact dependent and is relying upon the parents for the reasonable
necessities of life. The court shall exercise its discretion when determining
whether and for how long to award postsecondary educational support based upon
consideration of factors that include but are not limited to the following: Age
of the child; the child's needs; the expectations of the parties for their
children when the parents were together; the child's prospects, desires, aptitudes,
abilities or disabilities; the nature of the postsecondary education sought;
and the parents' ((
level of education,)) standard of living(( ,))
and current and future resources. Also to be considered are the amount and
type of support that the child would have been afforded if the parents had
stayed together. The child must be enrolled in an accredited academic or
vocational school, actively pursuing a course of study commensurate with
the child's vocational goals, and must be in good academic standing
as defined by the institution (( or)). The child shall also make
available all academic records and grades to both parents as a condition of receiving
postsecondary educational support. The court-ordered postsecondary
educational support (( may)) shall be automatically suspended
during the period or periods the child fails to comply with these conditions.
(( The court in its discretion may order that the payment be made directly to
the parent who has been receiving the transfer payments, to the educational
institution if feasible, or to the child.)) The court shall not order the
payment of postsecondary educational expenses beyond the child's twenty-third
birthday, except for exceptional circumstances, such as mental, physical, or
emotional disabilities. The court shall direct that the payments for
postsecondary educational expenses be made directly to the educational
institution if feasible. If direct payments are not feasible, then the court
in its discretion may order that the payment be made directly to the parent who
has been receiving the transfer payments or to the child.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. A new section is added to chapter 26.19 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Day care, extraordinary health care, long-distance transportation costs, and special child-rearing expenses such as tuition are not included in the basic support obligation for each child. These expenses shall be shared by the parents in the same proportion as the basic child support obligation and may be listed as a specific dollar amount or as a percentage amount subject to the verification requirements pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.
(2) (a) If a sum certain is established for day care and is set forth in the decree, the parent making the transfer payment is entitled to proof of the amount paid for day care. The parent making the transfer payment is responsible for the appropriate percentage of the actual amount paid, not to exceed the proper share of the amount as set forth in the decree. The transfer payment for day care must be made in advance if the day care amount is set forth in the decree or is a regularly paid amount in a sum certain. If an amount is not specified in the decree or a regular sum certain, reimbursement of day care expenses shall be treated in the same manner as reimbursement for transportation costs, extraordinary health care, and other extraordinary expenses. Day care expenses include, but are not limited to, day care expenses incurred while the custodial parent is working, pursuing accredited educational training, or obtaining medical care.
(b) For transportation costs, extraordinary health care costs, and other extraordinary expenses of the children specified in the decree, the parent paying these expenses shall be entitled to prompt reimbursement of the other parent's share of those expenses. Proof of the expenditure shall be furnished to the parent from whom reimbursement is sought. Reimbursement must be made promptly but not later than thirty days of receipt of proof of payment of these expenditures.
(3) (a) If reimbursement is not made within the thirty-day period or is incomplete due to a nonsufficient fund check or other failure to pay, the parent seeking reimbursement may by motion obtain an order compelling payment with statutory interest. If a parent requests proof of payment and it is not provided within thirty days the party may move to compel production of the documents. The court shall award actual court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party in every motion filed under this section except upon a showing of good cause for nonpayment.
(b) Wage assignment orders may be obtained pursuant to chapter 26.18 RCW to collect court-ordered basic child support, day care, extraordinary health care, long-distance transportation costs, or other extraordinary expenses, attorneys' fees, court costs, or any other item ordered by the court. A parent to whom basic child support, day care, extraordinary health care, long-distance transportation costs, or other extraordinary expenses are to be paid based on a percentage share of the costs, may by motion obtain a court order reducing the amounts owed to a sum certain and then enforce collection of that amount by a wage assignment order. The office of support enforcement shall not request a wage assignment in any case of purported nonsupport without obtaining documentation from both parents.
Sec. 8. RCW 26.09.170 and 1990 1st ex.s. c 2 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (7) of RCW 26.09.070, the provisions of any decree respecting maintenance or support may be modified only as to installments accruing subsequent to the motion for modification and, except as otherwise provided in subsections (4), (5), and (8) of this section, only upon a showing of a substantial change of circumstances. The provisions as to property disposition may not be revoked or modified, unless the court finds the existence of conditions that justify the reopening of a judgment under the laws of this state.
(2) Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree the obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree, provisions for the support of a child are terminated by emancipation of the child or by the death of the parent obligated to support the child.
(4) An order of child support may be modified one year or more after it has been entered without showing a substantial change of circumstances:
(a) If the order in practice works a severe economic hardship on either party or the child;
(b) If a party requests an adjustment in an order for child support which was based on guidelines which determined the amount of support according to the child's age, and the child is no longer in the age category on which the current support amount was based;
(c) If a child is still in high school, upon a finding that there is a need to extend support beyond the eighteenth birthday to complete high school; or
(d) To add an automatic adjustment of support provision consistent with RCW 26.09.100.
(5) An order or decree entered prior to June 7, 1984, may be modified without showing a substantial change of circumstances if the requested modification is to:
(a) Require health insurance coverage for a child named therein; or
(b) Modify an existing order for health insurance coverage.
(6) An obligor's voluntary unemployment or voluntary underemployment, by itself, is not a substantial change of circumstances.
The department of social and health services may file an action to modify an
order of child support if public assistance money is being paid to or for the
benefit of the child and the child support order is twenty-five percent or more
below the appropriate child support amount set forth in the standard
calculation as defined in ((
section 4(2) of this act)) RCW 26.19.010
and reasons for the deviation are not set forth in the findings of fact or
order. The determination of twenty-five percent or more shall be based on the
current income of the parties and the department shall not be required to show
a substantial change of circumstances if the reasons for the deviations were
not set forth in the findings of fact or order.
(8)(a) Except as provided in (b) and (c) of this subsection, all child support decrees may be adjusted once every twenty-four months based upon changes in the income of the parents without a showing of substantially changed circumstances. Either party may initiate the modification pursuant to procedures of RCW 26.09.175.
Parents whose decrees are entered before ((
the effective date of this act))
July 1, 1990, may petition the court for a modification after twelve
months has expired from the entry of the decree or the most recent modification
setting child support, whichever is later. However, if a party is granted
relief under this provision, twenty-four months must pass before another
petition for modification may be filed pursuant to (a) of this subsection.
(c) A party may petition for modification in cases of substantially changed circumstances, under subsection (1) of this section, at any time. However, if relief is granted under subsection (1) of this section, twenty-four months must pass before a petition for modification under (a) of this subsection may be filed.
(d) If, pursuant to (a) of this subsection, the court modifies a child support obligation by more than thirty percent and the change would cause significant hardship, the court may implement the change in two equal increments, one at the time of the entry of the order and the second six months from the entry of the order. Twenty-four months must pass following the second change before a petition for modification under (a) of this subsection may be filed.
(e) A parent who is receiving transfer payments who receives a wage or salary increase may not bring a modification action pursuant to (a) of this subsection alleging that increase constitutes a substantial change of circumstances under subsection (1) of this section.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. A new section is added to chapter 26.09 RCW to read as follows:
A parent filing a motion for modification of child support shall provide evidence of increased or decreased expenses, including receipts, and shall provide evidence of increased or decreased income, including statements to support such changes, before a child support order may be modified to require increased or decreased child support.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 10. RCW 26.19.040 and 1990 1st ex.s. c 2 s 20, 1988 c 275 s 5, & 1987 c 440 s 2 are each repealed.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 11. If specific funding for the purposes of section 4 of this act, referencing section 4 of this act by bill and section number, is not provided by June 30, 1991, in the omnibus appropriations act, section 4 of this act shall be null and void.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 12. If specific funding for the purposes of section 7 of this act, referencing section 7 of this act by bill and section number, is not provided by June 30, 1991, in the omnibus appropriations act, section 7 of this act shall be null and void.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 13. If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.