Understanding Child Support in Virginia
Sometimes, parents fail to understand their rights and responsibilities regarding child support payments. This can lead to many issues, like children not receiving the benefits they’re entitled to or parents being required to pay more than they can afford. This guide to child support in Virginia will give you a better understanding.
Basics of Child Support in Virginia
Regardless of circumstance, parents in Virginia are legally obligated to support their children. This is most commonly done through child support. Who pays the child support and how much they are required to pay depends on many factors. These include childcare costs, income of both parties and custody arrangements.
Typically, the parent who does not have primary custody of the child will have to make child support payments to the parent caring for the child all or most of the time. The law assumes that the custodial parent is already paying their share of the expenses. This way, the payments are divided, and the financial expense is shared fairly between parents. The goal is to have children grow up in an economic situation like what they would have if their parents were still together.
Can I File for Child Support?
If you are the parent or guardian of child in the following situations, you may be able to file for child support.
- You are the legal parent of guardian of the child and have sole or joint physical custody of the child.
- You are a caretaker for a child, and have physical custody of the child.
- Your child is over 18 but you had a child support order established before the child turned 18 and are owed a past due amount.
- Your child is over 18, but cannot live independently, and you had a child support order established before the child turned 18.
To file for child support, you can go through Virginia’s DCSE. In some cases, you may need to go through the courts. The child support order will state when payments begin and, in some cases, you may be owed a backdated amount.[Related: Top Family Lawyer]
Calculating Child Support in Virginia
Child support is calculated using the child support guidelines outlined in the Virginia Code. The amount of support the non-custodial parent pays will depend on several factors. Such as:
- The number of children in need of support
- Custody arrangements
- Each parent’s income
- Cost of work related child care
- Cost of health insurance for the child or children
Each parent must pay their fair share of support. How that amount is divided depends on the custody arrangement. For example, if you have sole custody, the child support owed is based on the proportion of what each parent contributes to the combined income.
If you have split custody (one child lives with one parent, and the other lives with the other parent), the calculation is the same as if you had sole custody. Then, split the difference between the custodial parent of one child and the custodial parent of the other child.
With shared custody arrangements, the support amount is based on the percentage of days out of each year that the child is with each parent.
Frequently Asked Questions about Virginia Child Support
- How long do I have to pay child support? Until the child reaches 18, or age 19 if the child is still in high school, except that child support may continue if a child is permanently disabled, unable to self-support, and living in the home of the parent seeking support..
- Can child support obligations change? Yes. If there is a “material change”, either parent can petition the court increase or decrease the amount of child support based on that change.
- Can we modify our child support agreement? If both parents agree, yes. But you need a court order to confirm that agreement..
- What if I overpay? You are not guaranteed credit for that support. These funds may be considered gifts and not count towards future payments.
- What if I don’t pay? You may be found in contempt of court, sentenced to a term in jail and/or be assessed a monetary fine.
Child Support Lawyer in Reston and Alexandria, VA
Virginia law does its best to support the best interests of children. Divorce and child support can be difficult, but an experienced, knowledgeable family attorney can help. To learn more about child support, contact Grenadier, Duffett, Levi, Winkler & Rubin, PC today!