Friday, October 16, 2009

Child Support Table May Be Used to Calculate Post-Secondary Support

A new decision from the state court of appeals, Division III, found that it was appropriate to use the child support schedule to determine post-secondary support.
In Goude v. Lieser, # 27753-4-III, the custodial parent filed a petition to modify child support and require the non-custodial parent to pay child support for an additional four years while the child was in college.
In determining whether to order post-secondary support, the court is required, per statute, to determine whether the child is dependent. If the answer is yes, then some level of post-secondary support is due. The amount and duration of support is then calculated based on a list of discretionary factors.
Those factors are: 1) the child’s age, 2) the child’s needs, 3) the expectations of the parties when the parents were together, 4) the child’s prospects and desires, 5) the nature of the post-secondary education sought, 6) the parent’s education, standard of living, and current and future resources, and 7) the amount / type of support that child would have received had the parent’s stayed together.
In this case, the child had graduated from high school and intended to live at home for two years while attending community college. The child then intended to transfer to Eastern Washington University.
To determine the amount of post-secondary support, the lower courts added the estimated cost of attending the community college (not including room and board), plus the basic child support obligation from the child support worksheet, minus the child’s anticipated earnings.
The appellate court affirmed.