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Can my new husband's income be calculated into child support if I am a stay at home mom and his wage is triple my ex's?

Seattle, WA |

I am the custodial parent and have been a homemaker since being laid off 4 yrs ago. I have remarried and want to know if my new husband's income will ever be factored in when recalculating child support since he makes triple what my ex makes? (and the gap may widen) Or is the support based upon my previous salary/earning potential?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Basic child support is based on the parents’ incomes. I would add that if your ex asked for a deviation under one of the allowable bases' (see RCW 26.19.075 ) and the court finds that an allowable reason to deviate exists under the facts presented to it, it is more likely than not that the court would deviate given that your current husband's income is three time higher than your ex-husband's income and given that a deviation would not likely create an undue hardship for you or the child.
At the time of any new case action, the court determines each parent's incomes as they are currently. If you have not worked since being laid off, the court would likely impute (assign) an income to you on the worksheets) that is either (a) full-time earnings at the current rate of pay; (b) full-time earnings at the historical rate of pay based on reliable information, such as employment security department data; (c) full-time earnings at a past rate of pay where information is incomplete or sporadic; (d) full-time earnings at minimum wage in the jurisdiction where the parent resides if the parent has a recent history of minimum wage earnings, is recently coming off public assistance, aged, blind, or disabled assistance benefits, pregnant women assistance benefits, essential needs and housing support, supplemental security income, or disability, has recently been released from incarceration, or is a high school student; (e) median net monthly income of year-round full-time workers as derived from the United States bureau of census, current population reports, or such replacement report as published by the bureau of census.
Modifications are more challenging, given the statute is against modifying a current order, unless there is a substantial change of circumstances since the entry of the prior custody order/decree (for the parenting plan issue). Modifications Parenting Plan – see RCW 26.09.260. It is less challenging for child support issues when compared to parenting plan issues, but certain requirements need to be met. Modifications Child Support – see RCW 26.09.175 and RCW 26.09.170. You should consult with an attorney.

Karen C. Skantze practices in the State of Washington. The response is limited to her understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which she practices and not to any other jurisdiction. No response to any posted inquiry shall constitute legal advice, nor the existence of an attorney/client relationship.

Bruce K Pruitt-Hamm

Bruce K Pruitt-Hamm


I agree. Good answer. The questioner may want to use a search engine to read the statutes cited by Karen in her answer. This will give you greater understanding of the relevant law. However, caselaw will often provide further guidance and this is where most people without a lawyer's assistance run into trouble. An example that is illustrative here is a case, In re Marriage of Pollard, pertinent to "imputing income" to a "homemaker". In essence the Pollard case stands for: A parent who works full time raising children and as a homemaker (particularly where the parent has left a job to do so) is not “gainfully employed” and therefore imputation of income is mandatory. In re Marriage of Pollard, 99 Wn. App. 48, 53, 991 P.2d 1201 (2000)


NO. A new spouses income is not used for the purposes of making the initial determination for child support, however, it may be used for the purposes of deviating from the standard calculation.

The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.


For child support, the court only enter the 2 parents' income in the worksheets. However, the statute requires "disclosure" of all adult household income. Also, you have to explain why you re not working (laid-off, stay-at-home...), but the court might impute (give) you income anyway at your former rate in the worksheets. What is the calculation right now with your income at zero versus your old wage?