5 ways self-employed parents can plan their child support payments

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | child support | 0 comments

Income fluctuations are common for self-employed individuals in Washington. Of course, courts usually require monthly child support payments.

These can be tricky when income is unpredictable. Fortunately, parents have a few ways to deal with this.

1. Financial cushion

The median income in Everett is $77,806. For many self-employed parents, income is not as simple as dividing an amount equally over 12 months. One of the most effective strategies for these parents who pay child support is to create a financial cushion. By saving money during high-income periods, parents can ensure they have funds to cover child support payments during leaner times.

2. Budgeting

Careful budgeting and financial planning are important. By tracking income and expenses closely, parents can forecast their financial situation more accurately. This helps in planning for child support payments and avoiding shortfalls. Planning can also include setting up a dedicated account for child support to ensure that funds are always available for this purpose.

3. Order modification

If a self-employed parent experiences a significant change in income, they can request a modification of the child support order. Washington state allows for modifications when there is a substantial change in circumstances. This can include a drastic reduction in business income or a shift from a high-earning season to a low-earning one. To request a modification, parents must provide evidence of their changed financial situation, such as updated financial statements or tax returns.

4. Payment adjustments and arrears

If a parent is unable to make a full payment during a particular month due to low income, it is important to communicate with the state’s child support enforcement agency. The agency can sometimes offer temporary adjustments or set up a payment plan for any arrears. However, these adjustments do not absolve the parent of their obligation. Rather, they provide a structured way to manage payments during tough times.

5. Seeking seasonal payment schedules

In some cases, courts may consider a seasonal payment schedule where higher payments occur during peak earning months and lower payments during off-season periods. This requires a detailed proposal and convincing evidence of the parent’s seasonal income. The court’s primary concern will always be the child’s welfare and ensuring a consistent support flow.

By proactively addressing income fluctuations, self-employed parents can ensure that they meet their child support responsibilities and provide stability for their children.

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