Child support is a monetary payment that is paid between the parents of a minor child to assist with the living expenses for their child or children. The child support payment is based primarily on the incomes of the parties. However, there are numerous other factors that are also considered.
While child support payments can be agreed on between parents without court intervention, or determined by a court order, a knowledgeable Prince William County child support lawyer can explain how the amount should be calculated. Experienced family law attorneys can assist you in determining fair, but precise terms for your child’s needs.
When Child Support Applies
Child support tends to be more common than divorce because there are many couples who have children out of wedlock. While those situations may not give rise to a divorce matter, they do frequently result in a child support case. In essence, there are different sorts of family structures that involve minor children and in any of those situations, when the two parents move apart from each other, child support is going to come into play.
Establishing Child Support
When it is necessary for the court to determine a fair and equitable child support payment, the court follows a guideline set forth in Virginia law, which is the starting point for a determination of child support in Virginia. Despite common misconceptions, child support is neither intended to be a financial windfall for the parent that is receiving support nor punishment for the parent that is required to pay child support.
Child support is an obligation of parents to be financially responsible for children that they opted to bring into their lives, whether through birth or adoption. There are a number of factors that impact the final child support amount, including the standard of living that the children have lived in, the custody arrangements, and the child or children’s special needs, among others.
An experienced Prince William County child support lawyer can assist parents in making reasoned arguments to the court that best support their position.
Enforcement of Support
Non-compliance with a judgment or court order may cause undue hardship for the other party and, in turn, the children. As a result, the court system takes these kinds of violations seriously and can find the non-complying parent in contempt of court. Consequences for contempt can include incarceration and garnishment of wages, among others.
If a former spouse does not live up to their child support payment obligations, it is important to work with a Prince William child support lawyers that will assist with enforcement of court-ordered child support, if necessary.
For a non-custodial parent that makes partial child support payments because of an inability to make full payments, it is best not to wait until the court holds them in contempt for failing to abide by the terms of the court order. There are other options available.
Child Support Modification
When an unforeseen circumstance occurs, such as loss of employment, injury, or illness, there may be a need to modify child support payments in Prince William to accommodate the change. To modify a standing child support agreement, a parent has to establish that a substantial material change in circumstances for either the child/children or the parent has occurred.
If a parent is faced with a substantial material change in circumstance that necessitates the modification of a child support order, it is important to work with experienced child support attorney in Prince William County that will petition the court to modify the amount of child support that is required to be paid.
Working with a Child Support Attorney
If you have a need to obtain, enforce, or modify an existing child support order or judgment, an experienced Prince William County child support lawyer will be well equipped to help.
It is important to have an attorney to talk to about a child support matter in a divorce case or any other case because the calculations are not very clearly laid out. For instance, there are a lot of nuances regarding how to address the income figures of which a Prince William County child support lawyer will be aware.
It is important to make sure that you consult with an attorney so that you are factoring in all of the appropriate pieces such as child care cost or whether one or the other party has other minor children that they are supporting. In order to make sure that the calculation is being done properly in the best way for the child, it is important to work with a professional.