The Basics of Virginia Child Support
Child support cases can be extremely stressful and emotional for the parties involved. Whether you are seeking to obtain a child support order, or want to have an already existing child support order raised or lowered, our experienced Virginia Child Support Lawyers can provide you with the tools you need to navigate the process.
The amount of child support a parent is required to pay is determined by entering the gross income of the parent and the number of children involved in the Virginia child support guidelines calculator.
It is presumed in Virginia that the number calculated by the guidelines is correct, unless the party disputing the amount provides evidence to the contrary. Virginia Code Section 20-108.2.
Virginia Courts will consider a number of factors in determining whether adjusting the number calculated by the guidelines is appropriate, including:
- The custody arrangement for the child - do you have sole custody, joint custody, how many over night visits do you have with your child?
- Necessary expenses paid by the custodial parent, such as healthcare, daycare, insurance, etc.
- Special needs of the child - does your child have any special medical or behavioral issues that require special consideration?
- Debts incurred during the marriage for the benefit of the child.
- The child's standard of living while the parents were married.
- Earning capacity of each parent.
Additionally, the court will also consider any factor deemed relevant to the case. This is the catchall the allows you to admit almost anything if you can show that it is relevant to the best interest of the child.
Some of the most commonly asked questions about Virginia Child Support include:
- How is child support determined?
The child support calculations take several factors into account, but the most important are the income of the parties, number of children, the number of days the parents spend with the children, the health insurance costs for the kids, and the expense of work-related childcare. In most cases, the Court will not require further information before determining an amount.
- What if I can't afford my child support because my bills are too high?
If you have already been ordered to pay a certain amount for child support, then you will have to return to court to have the amount changed. You should speak with a lawyer to determine whether you have grounds to seek such a reduction. Be wary of online child support calculators.
- When does the clock start for child support once my ex has filed a petition?
The clock starts for child support the day that you are served with the petition. Be careful-arrearages begin to accrue and can be quite high by the time you actually get a court date.
- What can I do if my ex is not being honest about income?
There are several tools at your disposal. You may take advantage of the subpoena power of the court. You can request that the Court authorize discovery (including requests for records and asking for responses to questions relevant to child support).
- How do I get the Court to deviate from the standard child support formula?
The Court will deviate from the formula only in certain cases. The guidelines are presumptive, meaning that the Court assumes that they are correct. You must rebut that presumption. Consult with an attorney to determine whether you will be able to get an alternative child support amount.
Modifying an Existing Child Support Order in Virginia
Before the Court will even entertain modifying an existing child support award you must first be able to prove that there has been a material change in circumstances since the last support order was issued.
Some of the most common examples of situations that have been found by Virginia Courts to constitute a material change in circumstances include:
- Loss of a job,
- A change in income,
- A change in costs incurred for child care, or
- A substantial change in the custodial arrangement.
It is also important for parties to understand that even if both parents agree between themselves on a modification in support, that such change is not legally effective unless it is approved by the appropriate Virginia Court.