When facing child support cases, emotions can run high, which is why it is important to seek the council of an experienced child support lawyer in Virginia. While numerous different factors are considered by Virginia courts when establishing the amount of child support to be paid in each individual case, the main factors that influence Virginia child support assignments are:
- The earnings of each parent
- Any children the parents have together
- Whether they have other minor children outside of that relationship they are responsible for financially
- Other costs related to the child such as child care
- The custodial arrangement between the parents
Eligibility in Virginia
Child support is generally awarded when the parties in the case have minor children in common and are no longer living in the same place.
A parent who has a child or more than one child who is under the age of 18 is eligible to receive child support particularly if that parent is the primary care taker of the child, but that eligibility could change if custody changes. Eligibility also changes if and when the child ages out of child support. If the parties in a case have one child together, the recipient would no longer be eligible for state child support once that child turns 18.
What Is Included in the Order
Child support is exclusively financial support but in a couple of different ways. Child support is typically a monthly payment that is determined based on what a child financially needs in order to be able to live on a monthly basis.
It should include coverage for the following provisions:
- Health Insurance
- Additional expenses necessary for raising the children
In Virginia, child support will also include an order relating to what percentage of out of pocket medical expenses each parent is required to pay.
Influence of Custodial Agreements
There are different methods used when calculating child support in Virginia, and the method chosen for each specific case varies based on different custodial agreements, including sole custody, shared custody and split custody, as these are among the main factors that influence Virginia child support.
If the parties share custody, a shared custody formula will be used as one of the factors that influence Virginia child support obligations. Additionally, cases parents with multiple children in which one parent takes primary custody of one child and the other parent takes primary custody of the other child would utilize yet another method of calculating child support which is based on the split custody guidelines.
Sole custody indicates that the non-primary custodian has 90 days or fewer in any given year with the child, shared custody means the non-primary parent has 91 or more days with the child in any given year, and split custody is a scenario where one parent is the primary care-taker for one child and the other parent is the primary care-taker for the other.
Role of Marital Fault
Unlike custodial arrangements, the issue of marital fault does not come into play in any respect to the issue of child support. Virginia law makes it clear that fault in terms of the dissolution of a marriage should have no impact on what should be paid for the support of minor children, because the fault in the dissolution of the marriage is typically an issue between the parents that has nothing to do with the children.
Influence of Special Needs
If a child of the parties has special needs, the court can deviate from the typical guidelines, as it will certainly affect the factors that influence Virginia child support. This occurs when the medical reality of a special needs child creates financial obligations, such as expensive therapies, that might not be properly divided between the parties by using the standard guidelines in Virginia. Also, in situations where the special needs child is unable to support themselves as they get older, the court has the authority to award continuing child support beyond the standard age limit of 18.
Contacting an Attorney
Child support is often an issue that is difficult to resolve smoothly given its nature, but a skilled Virginia child support attorney will be able to use their experience working within the system that will not only cater to the needs of the children involved, but also to the needs of their client. A child support lawyer can give you valuable guidance throughout the duration of the process, and work to provide a more objective and fair resolution for all.