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Author Topic: Need Standards and WA State Support calculations  (Read 1965 times)

2weary

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Need Standards and WA State Support calculations
« on: Feb 21, 2007, 04:48:54 PM »
I have 2 children, who live with their mother in WA state. I live in Oregon, and make about $1350 a month after taxes. Mother is recieving TANF and other public assistance.

Last fall DCS did an automatic review and determined my gross support obligation would be $470, but after taking into account the Washington State Need Standard (line 15b of the WA state CS Worksheet) DCS determined support would be set at $320 per month.

The case was then referred to the Prosecuting Attorney's office in the county where my ex & kids live. Now I've recieved a petition for modification from the County Prosecutor which requests my support be raised to over $500 a month - with a note that "Washington State Need Standard does not apply because Father resides in Oregon." This would leave me about $800 per month to live on, but the need standard is $1017.

Every time my support has been reviewed or modified in the past, DCS (and my ex's attorney, and a family law facilitator) have used the Washington State Need Standard to calculate my child support, even though I am a resident of Oregon.

The Washington Support Worksheet doesn't say anything about the Need Standard only applying to Washington residents. And I can't find ANY cases or statutes that say anything about residency. The statute seems very cut and dry: RCW 26.19.065 reads "A parent's support obligation shall not reduce his or her net income below the need standard for one person established pursuant to RCW 74.04.770, except for the presumptive minimum payment of twenty-five dollars per child per month or in cases where the court finds reasons for deviation."

I work 30 hours a week, have had the same job and yearly income for the last 5 years. I am current in my support payments.

My questions are:

1) Would/Can the court really ignore the Need Standard because I live in another state?

2) Do the family courts generally favor prosecuting attorneys over private parties? in other words, am I screwed?

3) Is it likely they will say I am underemployed and need to work 40 hours per week (my employer/job does not offer full time positions.)

4) Should I hire an attorney in my area, or should I try to find an attorney who works in the county where the children reside?

Thank you.


socrateaser

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RE: Need Standards and WA State Support calculations
« Reply #1 on: Feb 22, 2007, 06:55:15 AM »
>My questions are:
>
>1) Would/Can the court really ignore the Need Standard because
>I live in another state?

Under federal constitutional law, if you have been served with a summons and petition to appear in a WA court, and you respond to that petition directly, then you impliedly submit to the personal jurisdiction of the State of Washington, and you are thus entitled to the benefits and protections of the laws of that forum.

The prosecutor is either a kid who doesn't understand the due process minimum contacts doctrine, yet, or he/she is counting on the fact that you don't understand the principle.

>2) Do the family courts generally favor prosecuting attorneys
>over private parties? in other words, am I screwed?

You need to respond to the petition in some meaningful fashion. I'd need to see your case file and your prior orders to be able to advise you further. I can't do this for free. If you want that sort of help from me, you can write me at socrateaser@yahoo.com (post a note here telling me you've emailed me, otherwise I won't check the email address).

>3) Is it likely they will say I am underemployed and need to
>work 40 hours per week (my employer/job does not offer full
>time positions.)

The minimum requirement is 40 hours at minimum wage. If you already earn more than this, then it's doubtful that they would suggest you can earn more, if no more hours are available. You could probably beat this argument in court (but you might need an attorney to represent you).

>4) Should I hire an attorney in my area, or should I try to
>find an attorney who works in the county where the children
>reside?

If WA law gives you a better deal than does Oregon law, then hire a WA attorney to represent you in WA and hopefully that attorney will defend using the minimum contacts doctrine and force the prosecutor to back away from the current "frivolous" position.

PS. If you're planning on hiring a WA attorney to represent you in court, then there's no reason to write me.

PPS. The "minimum contacts doctrine" is a very fundamental part of lawyer training, however, many state attorneys who prosecute CS cases will conveniently "forget" to do the analysis, counting on the fact that the average CS obligor won't have a clue that his/her constitutional rights were violated.

Some judges will protect you -- others will expect you to hire an attorney to defend yourself. So, I'm not really being cynical. It's all just a legal game to get as much money out of you as possible.

 

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