UNDERSTANDING THE WHOLE FAMILY METHOD
The Whole Family Method was developed and promulgated by the Office of Support Enforcement (now re-named the Support Enforcement Division (SED) of the Department of Social and Health Services). It is intended to replace the Blended Family Formula in all SED cases. (Editor's note: We found the Whole Family Method to be more complete, and in many ways more logical than the Blended Family Report.)
DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE WHOLE FAMILY METHOD
The Whole Family Method requires two types of information: 1) The names and birthdates of the children for the present support determination, and 2) The names and birthdates of additional child(ren) who are the responsibility of the OBLIGOR (In SED's language, the OBLIGOR is the AP, or Absent Parent). Note that the additional child(ren) of the OBLIGEE are not considered.
Notice that under "Children for whom support is being determined," child(ren)'s names previously entered into SupportCalc for the present support determination are automatically listed for you. You may need to add the birthdates of these children, unless you previously entered their birthdates in the SKRATCHPAD on screen 3.
Then, below under "Additional Children who are responsibility of OBLIGOR", list the names and birthdates for the children NOT of this determination, but for whom the OBLIGOR is responsible. You can list up to 6 additional children. NOTE, HOWEVER, that since the Economic Table only provides for up to 5 children, only the first five children, INCLUDING THE ONES FOR THE PRESENT DETERMINATION, will calculate. ANY additional children will list on the printout, but will not enter into the calculations.
Below is the SED memo authorizing and explaining the Whole Family Method, followed by two letters from SED giving further clarifications. You can BLOCK and COPY, then INSERT sections of this text into SupportCalc's word processor. See page 2-20 of your manual if you are unsure how transfer text to word processing. (These documents are also included in their entirety in Appendix D of the SupportCalc manual.)
WHOLE FAMILY METHOD
Effective September 29, 1993, SED staff shall use the Whole Family Method (WFM) to calculate a deviation from the basic support obligation for APs supporting children in more than one household. Use the Whole Family Method when calculating a child support obligation for an AP who is actually providing support for children in addition to those in the present calculation. This applies to the establishment and review and modification of both administrative and court orders. It is SED policy to use these guidelines for standardized computations across the state.
However, there are more deviations allowed by law and decisions of equity. Parties may ask for a Conference Board, Adjudicative Proceeding (if eligible), or go to Superior Court to decide deviations or issues not addressed by this method.
The Whole Family Method is a deviation under RCW 26.19.075. Staff must complete a Washington State Child Support Schedule work sheet through line 15 using only those children for whom the child support obligation is being determined. Staff must then calculate a secondary basic support obligation based on the total number of children for whom the AP is providing support to arrive at the deviation amount. The deviation is used to determine the final support obligation after including the health care, day care, and special child rearing expenses for the children for whom support is being determined.
A. Complete a Washington State Child Support Schedule work sheet for the children whose support is in question through line 15, Net Support Obligation.
[Note: The amount on Line 15 represents the presumptive transfer payment before applying deviations.]
B. Determine the deviation amount.
1. Calculate a per-child secondary basic support obligation (line 5 of the work sheet) using the following:
a. The total income of the AP and custodian of the children whose support is in question (AR/AC).
b. The Economic Table for all children for whom the AP has a legal support obligation and is actually providing support. This includes the children whose support is in question and all of the following:
(1) The AP's natural children born during the AP's marriage.
(2) The AP's natural children born outside of marriage for whom the AP is ordered to provide support.
(3) Stepchildren living in the AP's household.
(4) Stepchildren for whom the AP is ordered to pay support.
2. Identify and total the secondary basic support obligation for
only those children whose support is in question.
EXAMPLE: The AP's net monthly income is $1800. There are two children for whom support is being established. They are on AFDC with the AR and are over the age of 12. The AP is providing support for one other child. The monthly basic per child support obligation for a three child family at $1800 combined net income per month is $310 for children over 12. The total for the two children for whom support is being established is $310 + $310 = $620.
3. Multiply the total secondary basic support obligation from B.2. by the proportional share of the AP's income found at line 6 of the work sheet.
EXAMPLE: Continued from above: $620 x 100% = $620.
4. Subtract the result of step B.3. from the original basic support obligation (line 7 of the work sheet).
EXAMPLE: Continued from above: The amount on line 7 of the worksheet based on a two child family at net monthly income of $1800 is $371 times 2 children is $742. $742 - $620 = $122.
* This difference is the deviation amount.
C. Complete Part VI of the work sheet (lines 16 through 22).
* On line 22 of the work sheet (Other Factors For onsideration):
a. List the children the AP is providing support for that are not living in either parent's household.
* Include full names and dates of birth.
[Note: List other children living in the AP's household on line 21.]
b. Subtract the deviation amount from the Net Support Obligation/Presumptive Transfer Payment, (line 15) and note the difference.
* This difference is the actual transfer payment the AP owes.
c. Include a brief description of the deviation method and calculation.
EXAMPLE: Whole Family Method applied. Father has 2 children from this relationship and 1 child with present spouse. Deviation due to support based on 3 child family instead of 2 child family is $122. Net support obligation/transfer payment is $742 - $122 = $620.
D. Enter the following on line 15 of the work sheet in the blank space to the right of the title
* See line 22 deviation for whole family.
E. Following is another example of calculating a deviation based on the Whole Family Method.
SED is reviewing a court order for possible modification. The AP is remarried and lives with his new family. Two children live in the new home of the AP (one stepchild and one natural child of the AP). Their ages are 6 and 8. The two children for whom support is being determined are on AFDC and live with the AR. Their ages are 10 and 13. The AP has a net income of $2000 per month. There are no health care, day care, or special child rearing expenses for consideration.
Apply the Whole Family Method to the example as follows:
1. Number of children whose support is in question and their ages. 1 at 10 yrs., 1 at 13 yrs.
2. Per child support obligation from the Economic Table. $331
(Work sheet line 5.) + $409
3. AP's basic child support obligation.
(Work sheet line 7.) $740
4. AP's net support obligation/presumptive transfer payment.
(Work sheet line 15.) $740
5. Number of other children the AP supports. 2
6. Total number of children the AP supports 4
7. Per child support obligation from the Economic Table for just the children in # 1 above, using the table column for the number of children in # 6 above. (secondary basic $234 support obligation).
+ $289 ======8. Total secondary basic support obligation. $523
9. AP's proportional share of income.
(Work sheet line 6.) X 1.00
10. AP's secondary basic support obligation.
(total of # 8 times # 9 above.) $523
11. Deviation amount
(# 3 minus # 10 above.) $740 - $523 = $217
12. Final AP transfer payment
(# 4 minus # 11 above.) $740 - $217 = $523
13. Note the deviation on the work sheet (line 22):
Whole family method applied. Father has 2 children from this
relationship and 2 children with present spouse. Deviation due to
support based on 4 child family instead of 2 child family is $213.
Net support obligation/transfer payment is $740 - $213 = $523.
(Further documentation from OSE, via letters issued to staff)
State of Washington
Department of Social and Health Services
September 29, 1993
To: All OSE Staff
From: David Hogan, Director
Subject: UPDATE TO CN #122 (REVIEW AND MODIFICATION)
Attached is an update to Canary Notice #122. Remove pages 9, 11, 19, 20, and 31 from the current CN #122 and replace with the updated pages attached to this memo. This update changes three areas of CN #122.
Cases must now have good locate information allowing personal service of legal documents at the survey stage of a review. Cases lacking this locate should be placed in Event Tracking status "Locate" and Auto Locate code #8. This coding will prevent SEMS from identifying these cases as needing a review until additional locate information if found. If staff has initiated a review and notified the parties previous to the receipt of this update, proceed with the review and findings. In these cases do not terminate a review prior to completing the review due to lack of locate. the review should be completed with the findings notifying the parties that the case will not proceed to modification.
THE WHOLE FAMILY DEVIATION NOW REPLACES THE BLENDED FAMILY FORMULA deviation for calculations of proposed changes in support during the review. Guidance on the Whole Family method can be found in Policy Clarification Memo #93-20. In addition, certified copies of the order are no longer required when referring cases to the Pros/AGG unless the order is from out-of-state. These two changes to policy are effective immediately.
If you have any questions on the attached changes to the review and modification program, please contact Aaron Powell at (SCAN) 321-3558.
REVISIONS TO THE WHOLE FAMILY METHOD:
State of Washington
Department of Social and Health Services
P.O. Box 9162, Olympia, WA 98507-9162
POLICY CLARIFICATION MEMO #93-24
TO: District Administrators
Office of Support Enforcement
FROM: Bill Paine, Policy Unit Chief
State Office, OSE; MS: 45860
DATE: November 9, 1993
SUBJECT: CORRECTION TO WHOLE FAMILY METHOD
Comments from staff have pointed our a problem with the instructions provided in Policy Clarification Memo #93-20. This memo provides additional information and corrects errors that previous instructions may cause when used to calculate support. OSE staff should immediately apply the following instructions when using the Whole Family method. This change applies to both the establishment and review an modification of both administrative and court orders.
The Whole Family method uses the Economic Table currently contained in the WASHINGTON STATE CHILD SUPPORT SCHEDULE. It is a deviation because it includes children from other relationships. The whole family approach counts all the children for whom the absent parent (AP) has a legal obligation to provide support. This includes children living in the AP's home, children outside the AP's home for whom the AP is actually providing support, and children contained in the family unit under consideration. The AP must be providing this support either by living in the same household or by paying support. The Whole Family method counts all the AP's natural children born during a marriage and natural children born out of wedlock with an established support order. The Whole Family method also counts stepchildren living in the AP's home and other stepchildren for whom the AP is ordered to pay support.
Remember, the Whole Family method includes Children from other relationships and is a deviation under RCW 26.19.075. Staff must complete a schedule work sheet through line 15 using only those children for whom the child support obligation is being determined. Staff must then calculate the deviation and must show this calculation on line 22 of the work sheet. The deviation results in the final support obligation including the health care, day care and special child rearing expenses for the children for whom support is being determined.
Apply the following instruction when using the WASHINGTON STATE CHILD SUPPORT SCHEDULE and the WHOLE FAMILY method.
Step A: Calculate the total support amount (transfer payment) for the children whose support is in question.
1. Add the monthly net income of the AP and AR/AC.
2. Find the basic support obligation on the Economic table.
a. Use the number of Children for whom support is in question and the parties' net income (work sheet line 3) to find the per child support amounts.
b. Add the per child support amounts to arrive at the basic support obligation (insert this on line 5 of the worksheet).
3. Calculate each party's share of the basic support obligation.
* Multiply the basic support obligation (line 5) by the parties proportional income share (line 6).
* Note each party's share of the basic support obligation to line 7 of the schedule worksheet.
4. Complete the schedule to calculate the net support amount.
* Apply each party's basic support obligation to parts II, III, and IV of the schedule.
* Post this amount to the schedule as the net support obligation ("presumptive transfer payment", worksheet line 15).
Step B: Calculate the deviation to the basic support obligation using the following:
1. Calculate a new basic support obligation using the following:
a. The Economic Table column for all Children for whom the AP has a legal obligation to support.
b. The total income of the AP and AR/AC (custodian of the children whose support is in question).
2. Identify the monthly basic per child support obligation for only those children for whom support is being established. (The same children used in Step A.2.a).
3. Multiplying the basic support obligation found in Step B.2 by the proportional share of the AP's income found at line 6 of the schedule work sheet.
4. Calculate the deviation.
a. Subtract the AP's basic support obligation (found in Step B.2 above counting ALL the children from whom the AP has a legal support obligation) from the basic support obligation for the children whose support is in question (work sheet line 7).
b. This difference is the deviation amount. Note this amount as the deviation at line 22 of the work sheet.
5. Subtract the deviation amount from the net support obligation ("presumptive transfer payment", line 15) found in Step A.4. [Note: This is the transfer payment with the deviation applied and should be noted on line 22.]
a. List all children and their birthdates, if not listed elsewhere on the schedule:
b. Include the following explanation on the schedule:
(1) This support amount includes a deviation.
(2) The calculation used all children for whom the AP has legal support obligation per the Economic Table.
EXAMPLE: OSE is reviewing a court order for possible modification. The AP is remarried and lives with his new family. Two children live in the new home of the AP (one stepchild and one natural child of the AP). Two children are on AFDC and live with the AR. All the children are over the age of 12 years. The AP has a net income of $2000 per month.
Use the WASHINGTON STATE CHILD SUPPORT SCHEDULE ECONOMIC TABLE for combined income equal to $2000 per month. There are two children for whom support is being determined, and they are more than 12 years of age. The Economic Table shows a proposed support obligation of $409 per child per month. Since the AR is on AFDC, the total support obligation is the responsibility of the AP. There are no health care, day care, or special child rearing expenses for consideration. Therefore, line 15 is completed showing a net transfer payment of $818.
The determine the deviation, calculate a new basic child support obligation using all four children. The table shows a basic support obligatio of $289 per month per child. This totals $578 ($289 + $289) for the two children for whom we are establishing support. Next take the AP's proportion of income (100%) and multiply this ratio by the new basic child support obligation (100% x $578 = $578). Next find the difference between the two determined basic support obligations ($818 - $578 = $240). This is the deviation amount. Subtract the deviation amount from the presumptive transfer payment found at line 15 ($818 - $240). This results in a final transfer payment of $578.
OSE Staff should recognize the possibility that the Blended Family Formula may still be used by prosecutors and AAG's in harmony with local practice. If a prosecutor or AAG returns a case to OSE, citing use of the Blended Family Formula as the reason that the case does not meet modification criteria, this must be clearly documented by case comment.
The procedures in this memo supersede all conflicting policy and procedures. A future Canary Notice will provide further guidance for use of the Whole Family method. Staff should direct questions about the Whole Family method to David Stillman at (SCAN) 321-2525.
cc: Management Team
Policy Unit SEPAs
ALP/Manual Work File
DS/Manual Work File