# How to calculate support with shared physical custody of two kids.

Tacoma, WA |

The courts recently awarded me shared physical custody of my two boys (ages 9 & 11 yrs). My understanding is that the support amount in Washington State is only a recommendation, but would like know whether there is a precedent or "rule of thumb" in Washington State for shared physical custody. How would it be calculated?

In this case, custody is 50/50 so its problematic to designate one of the parties as the "residential" parent. However, the online WA Support Calculator requires that the user identifies whether the child lives with the mother or the father (no shared physical custody option). Is it reasonable to chose one party as the residential parent for one of the children and the other party as the residential parent for the other child?

Posted

The easiest way to figure out how much, if any, child support would be paid would be for you to go to the County-City Building Law Library (it's in the first floor) and they have a computer program that's free for you to use (except you pay for any pages you actually print). It's called SupportCalc. You can plug in the incomes and other factors specifically for your case and see what comes up. It has a specific option to calculate based on how many overnights a parent has.

Very very generally speaking, child support is figured with the two kids and the the paying parent is given a residential credit for the amount of time that the kids spend with him/her.

I strongly recommend that you fiddle around with SupportCalc. Courts will usually adopt whatever SuportCalc spits out.

1 lawyer agrees

Posted

In Washington, child support is based upon mandatory Child Support Schedules. This determines the basic amount of the transfer payment. From this, the court can deviate the amount if there is a legal basis for it. One reason for deviation is a residential credit. If the children spend a significant amount of time (usually considered to be more than 90 overnights a year) with the non-residential parent, then the court can reduce the amount of the transfer payment. There is a formula that has been used for years to calculate the amount of reduction, but last year the appelate court struck down the formula approach. You can still calculate the formula for your own reference or agreement, but the court will not strictly follow it. Now we are left to prove to the court the added expenses for the non-residential parent who has them for more time, and the reduction of expenses for the residential parent who has them for less time. This is a much more difficult task than just putting the number of overnights into the formula.