Child support is the amount of money legislature has deemed necessary to support a child. In Virginia, child support is a two-fold calculation. The first calculation concerns the financial support the non-primary custodian is required to provide. Additionally, Virginia requires there be some form of ruling or agreement as to how the parties will divide reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
When child support is calculated in Virginia, this calculation will also include the required division of out-of-pocket medical expenses for the child. Despite the fact that Virginia law prescribes the manner in which child support should be calculated, the computation of child support is a complicated process, and it is essential to have the help of the experienced Fairfax family lawyer helping with your case.
How is Child Support Determined
Virginia legislature has created a formula to determine child support. Factors that go into a calculation of child support include:
- The gross income of each parent
- The number of children the parents share
- Whether or not one or both of the parents have other biological or adopted children for which they are financially responsible
- The cost of work-related childcare
- The cost of providing health insurance
- Whether spousal support is payable between the parties
In Virginia, child support is paid until either the child turns 18 or, if the child is still in high school at the age of 18 and is still residing with the custodial parent, until the child graduates high school or turns 19, whichever occurs first.
In certain limited circumstances in which a child does not have the ability to support themselves, a parent can petition the court with the help of an experienced Fairfax child custody attorney to order that child support continue to be paid after the above-designated endpoints on the basis that the child cannot be self-supportive.
Changes in Income
In some cases, an individual’s income may suddenly decrease when they are preparing to enter child support proceedings. For example, if an individual has a very high-paying job but, right before such proceedings, decides to quit that job and begin their own venture, their income may substantially decrease.
However, certain laws in Virginia and certain decisions made by Virginia appellate courts govern such circumstances. The laws and decisions establish that, in calculating child support, each individual must be held to their earning potential. If an individual’s income decreases significantly immediately prior to a child support proceeding, their previous income may be considered for the purposes of calculating child support if they voluntarily reduced their income.
The respective incomes of both parents must be included in the child support calculation. However, it can be difficult to determine what constitutes income. Income is not simply the amount displayed on a paycheck; financial gifts from third parties, rental income, and business income may all constitute an individual’s income. Moreover, unemployment or underemployment may impact child support calculations, all of which make it imperative a child custody lawyer in Fairfax is available to assist in determining the amount.
Contacting an Attorney
These factors are generally too complex for an average person to navigate without counsel. It is important that child support is calculated appropriately. Although child support can be modified after the initial order is entered, such modification requires an additional legal process. Because of this, any person who is getting a divorce should contact a Fairfax child support attorney to ensure child support is calculated in a fair and just manner from the outset.