Washington DSHS Child Support Services | Division of Child Support Law Changes

Washington Division Of Child Support Services

Child support is a crucial aspect of family law, ensuring that children receive the financial support they need for their well-being and development. In Washington, the Division of Child Support (DCS) plays a pivotal role in managing and facilitating child support services. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to pay or receive child support, it's essential to navigate the system effectively.

Why Child Support Matters in Washington State

Child support is not just a legal obligation; it's a means to secure the future of our children. The state of Washington recognizes the importance of financial support for children and has established laws and services to enforce child support orders. Navigating the child support system in Washington involves understanding the legal framework, utilizing services provided by the Division of Child Support, and ensuring that both parents fulfill their responsibilities.

1. The Basics of Child Support

Child support in Washington is governed by state laws designed to protect the rights and interests of children. The amount of child support is determined based on a variety of factors, including the income of both parents, the number of children involved, and any special needs the child may have. The Division of Child Support provides a Child Support Schedule and Worksheet to help parents calculate the appropriate amount of support.

It's important to know that child support is not just about financial contributions. It's about ensuring that both parents play a role in supporting their child's well-being, both emotionally and financially.

2. Initiating Child Support Services

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to initiate child support services, whether as the paying or receiving parent, the Division of Child Support is there to assist. You can start by contacting DCS through their website or by phone. It's crucial to have essential information ready, such as the names of both parents, the child's information, and any existing court orders related to custody and support.

Remember, initiating child support services is not an adversarial process; it's a legal avenue to ensure that both parents fulfill their responsibilities. It's about the well-being of the child, and DCS is here to help facilitate that.

3. Understanding Child Support Orders

Once child support services are initiated, the next step involves understanding and complying with child support orders. These orders are legal documents that outline the obligations of both parents. The paying parent is obligated to make regular payments, while the receiving parent is entitled to receive those payments for the benefit of the child.

It's essential to be familiar with the terms of the child support order, including the amount to be paid, the frequency of payments, and any additional provisions related to medical support or special needs. Failure to comply with a child support order can have legal consequences, so it's crucial to fulfill these obligations responsibly.

4. Making and Receiving Payments

Child support payments can be made through various methods, including direct payments between parents, payroll deductions, or payments processed by the Division of Child Support. Understanding the options available and choosing the most convenient and reliable method is essential for both parents.

For the receiving parent, it's crucial to ensure that child support payments are received consistently and on time. Keeping track of payments, maintaining open communication with the other parent, and promptly addressing any issues that may arise are key elements in this process.

5. Custody and Child Support

Child custody arrangements can have a significant impact on child support obligations. The parent with primary custody often receives child support payments from the noncustodial parent. It's crucial to understand the relationship between custody and child support and to ensure that both parents are actively involved in the child's life, even if they are not the primary custodian.

If custody arrangements change, it's essential to notify the Division of Child Support to ensure that child support orders are modified accordingly.

6. Ensuring Legal Compliance

Child support laws in Washington are designed to protect the rights of children and ensure that both parents fulfill their financial responsibilities. Understanding and complying with these laws is crucial for the well-being of the child and the legal standing of both parents.

Parents should familiarize themselves with the specifics of child support laws, seek legal advice if necessary, and ensure that they are meeting their obligations in accordance with the law. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense, so it's important to stay informed.

7. Accessing Child Support Services Online

In today's digital age, the Division of Child Support provides online services to make it easier for parents to manage child support obligations. Through the Secure Access Washington website, parents can access their case information, make payments, and communicate with DCS representatives.

Utilizing online services can streamline the child support process, providing a convenient and efficient way for parents to fulfill their responsibilities.

8. Seeking Assistance When Needed

Child support situations can be complex, and individuals may face challenges along the way. Whether you're a paying or receiving parent, if you encounter difficulties or have questions about the child support process, seeking assistance is crucial.

The Division of Child Support has dedicated staff to assist parents in navigating the system. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need clarification, guidance, or support in addressing specific challenges.

9. Calculating Child Support: The Kids Line

For parents who want to calculate child support on their own, the Division of Child Support offers the Kids Line, a helpful resource that provides information on how to calculate child support using the state guidelines. Understanding the factors that go into the calculation, such as income, expenses, and parenting time, is essential for parents who wish to have a clear picture of their child support obligations.

10. Ensuring Privacy and Security

When dealing with child support matters, privacy and security are paramount. Whether you're accessing online services, communicating with the Division of Child Support, or exchanging information with the other parent, it's crucial to prioritize the privacy and security of sensitive information.

Parents should be cautious about sharing personal information online, use secure channels for communication, and ensure that any documents related to child support are handled with care.

Conclusion: Navigating the Path of Child Support in Washington

In conclusion, understanding and navigating child support in Washington involves a combination of legal knowledge, effective communication, and responsible financial management. Whether you're a parent paying child support or a parent receiving it, the well-being of your child is at the center of this process.

Remember, the Division of Child Support is here to assist you. By familiarizing yourself with the child support laws, utilizing online services, and seeking assistance when needed, you can ensure that you fulfill your responsibilities and contribute to the positive development of your child.

Key Takeaways:

  • Child support is a legal obligation aimed at ensuring the well-being of children.
  • The Division of Child Support in Washington provides essential services to help parents navigate the child support system.
  • Understanding child support orders, making and receiving payments, and ensuring legal compliance are crucial aspects of the process.
  • Custody arrangements, online services, and seeking assistance when needed are additional considerations in the journey of child support.

Washington Child Support Contact Information

Division of Child Support, Department of Social & Health Services
PO Box 9162
Olympia, Washington 98507-9162
Office: (360) 664-5000
Fax: (360) 664-5444


Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
Program Manager
PO Box 150
Nespelem, Washington 99155
Office: (509) 634-2782
Fax: (509) 634-2742


Lummi Nation
Lummi Nation Child Support Program
2616 Kwina Road
Bellingham, Washington 98226
Office: (360) 312-2235
Fax: (360) 380-6988

Nooksack Indian Tribe
Ken Levinson, Family Services Director
Elaine Zapata, Child Support Program Manager
Office: (360) 306-5090
Fax: (360) 306-5099


Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
Child Support Program
31912 Little Boston Road N.E.

Kingston, Washington 98346
Office: (360) 297-9668
Fax: (360) 297-9666


Puyallup Tribe of Indians
Program Director
Puyallup Tribe Child Support Program
Trans Pacific Trade Center Building
3700 Pacific Highway East, Suite 214
Fife, Washington 98424-1161
Office: (253) 680-5744
Fax: (253) 680-5767

Quinault Indian Nation
Gina James, Acting Program Director
Quinault Indian Nation, Child Support Program
PO Box 189
Taholah, Washington 98587
Office: (360) 276-8211 x547
Fax: (360) 276-0008


The Suquamish Tribe
Suquamish Child Support Program
PO Box 498
Suquamish, Washington 98392
Office: (360) 394-8646
Fax: (360) 697-4076


Tulalip Tribes
Child Support Program Director
Tulalip Tribes of Washington Child Support Program
3107 Reuben Sheldon Drive
Tulalip, Washington 98271-9715
Office: (360) 716-4889
Fax: (360) 716-0309

Are Your Additional Expenses Being Managed?

Did you know that state systems only manage base child support payments & do not provide a way for parents to manage transactions & make payments for additional child expenses such as medical, education, child care or any other child-related expenses? Even if you have your base payments coming thru the state you need a solution to manage, track & pay all your child expenses – while providing a complete history & record.

SupportPay was built to help parents manage all child support & expenses while working with state payment systems.