Virginia Child Support Law

Compassionate Child Support Attorneys

When a marriage or relationship comes to an end, as many of them frequently do, the parties go their separate ways except when there are children. The law makes each parent responsible for the care and support of their children who have not reached 18 years of age. Virginia residents should think twice before relying on a formula they find online to calculate their child support obligation.

The child support lawyers at the Newport News-Yorktown office of the Denbigh Law Center help parents understand their child support rights and obligations. Deciding how much parents pay or receive to support their children is more complicated than merely plugging numbers into a formula. The Denbigh Law Center child support attorneys ensure that child custody arrangements and other factors affecting child support are taken into account.

Virginia Child Support Guidelines

Courts in Hampton, Newport News, York County and other municipalities on the Virginia Peninsula rely upon a schedule found in the Virginia code to compute basic child support payments. The schedule uses gross monthly income of both parents as the starting point to calculate child support using a formula based upon the number of children. The schedule shows the support obligation as calculated using the formula.

In order to determine basic child support using the schedule, a person must first locate the row corresponding to the combined gross monthly income of the parents and move to the left to find where the income intersects with a column showing the number of children. The figure in the box where the row and column intersect is the monthly child support the parents should pay.

High-income couples with gross monthly incomes in excess of $35,000 may use the schedule contained in the statute with a slight variation. They must locate on the schedule the child support obligation for parents with a combined gross income of $35,000 and add to it a percentage of the gross income in excess of $35,000. The percentages range from 2.6% for one child up to 5.0% for six children.

According to the support schedule for a couple with two children and a combined gross income of $6,000 a month, child support should be $1,226 a month. The same couple with only one child would have a basic support obligation of $821 a month based upon the schedule. How the support obligation is apportioned between the parents depends on factors that include the amount of income of each parent and the child custody arrangements that have been worked out.

Virginia child support guidelines also must include accounting for the provisioning of daycare and healthcare costs.

Determining Child Support Income Sources

The income parents earn from their employment represents only one of several sources of income that must be taken into consideration when calculating child support. Other sources of income may include the following:

• Employment bonuses
• Earned commissions
• Severance payments
• Unemployment insurance payments
• Pension benefits
• Disability insurance benefits
• Military retirement and disability payments
• Dividends
• Social Security benefits
• Spousal support
• Workers’ compensation benefits

Determining Child Support Income (Cont…)

Some income, such as public assistance benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments, received by parents are not included when computing their child support obligation. Also excluded from consideration as income is child support a parent receives for children born of other marriages or relationships.

Assistance with identifying all sources of income takes the skills and know-how of an experienced child support attorney who has worked in all the surrounding municipal family courts on the Virginia Peninsula. When a parent attempts to hide or misrepresent sources of income, a law firm representing the other parent has the ability to subpoena records to learn the truth. Employers and others who fail to comply with a subpoena may be forced to do so by courts throughout Virginia.

Apportioning the Child Support Obligation

The child custody arrangement ordered by a court or negotiated and put into a written agreement by the parents affects how parents share the child support obligation. When sole custody is awarded, noncustodial parents must pay their fair share of the monthly child support obligation to the parent granted custody. The method for computing a parent’s fair share is based upon the relative contribution of each parent toward the combined gross monthly income used in the basic child support schedule.

The law gives judges discretion to deviate from how child support is apportioned when parents have either shared or split custody. Split custody occurs when there are two or more children with each parent having custody of at least one of them. A shared custody situation exists when children reside with each parent at least 91 days a year.

Factors Courts May Use to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines

Factors may exist in a child support case making it appropriate to deviate from the amount of support calculated by using statutory guidelines. A child support lawyer knows the circumstances justifying an increase or decrease in a child support obligation, including:

• Special needs of a child related to a physical, emotional or medical condition.
• Financial support provided to a child by other members of the family.
• Unusual costs related to visitation with the child.
• Imputed income of a parent who voluntarily becomes unemployed or underemployed.
• Debts a parent incurs for the benefit of a child.
• Standard of living established for a child during the marriage of the parents.

Courts may also take into consideration such other factors as may be deemed appropriate in order to arrive at a just and fair result. For example, a local family law court may increase the amount of child support to permit a parent to pay for child care services in order to go back to work.

How May an Attorney Help with Child Support Disputes?

Absent proof of a material change in circumstances, courts frown upon changing the amount a parent pays or receives for child support absent proof of a material change in circumstances arising after the court order or agreement was made. Representation and legal advice from a law firm of outstanding Virginia child support attorneys may help to get it right the first time. The lawyers at the Denbigh Law Center have been providing residents throughout York County, Newport News and the Virginia Peninsula with client-focused representation since 1982. Contact them today to schedule an appointment by calling 757-877-2244.