Child Support

Child support in Virginia is governed by a set of “guidelines,” which are set forth in the code of Virginia. The guidelines are a mathematical calculation used to determine a dollar amount of support based upon (i) the amount of time the child or children spend with the payor parent, (ii) the gross income of each parent, (iii) any spousal support or support for other children paid by the payor parent, (iv) the number of children to be supported, (v) work-related child care costs paid by either parent, and (vi) health insurance costs paid by either parent. The dollar amount that results from the guideline calculation is presumed correct by law, and will be ordered unless either party proves that a deviation from that amount is warranted under the circumstances of a particular case. For a basic child support calculation, follow this link to the Child Support Calculator.

Both the juvenile and domestic relations district courts and the circuit courts have the authority to order child support. In order to petition a court for support, parties need not be currently married, nor have been previously married, as the duty to support one’s child arises by virtue of the child being born and is not affected by the marital status of the child’s parents. In addition to the authority to order monthly support payments, courts also have broad authority over ancillary child support issues, including the authority to order a party to maintain a life insurance policy for the benefit of a child or children, to pay day care costs, and/or to pay tuition at a private school. An unjustified failure to pay support is punishable by fines, interest on unpaid sums, and even incarceration.

The following are some common legal and factual issues related to child support:

  • How do time sharing arrangements factor into to child support?
  • Can a court order a party to maintain health insurance for the benefit of a child or children?
  • Are parties permitted to change court-ordered child support without approval from the court?
  • Is child support automatically garnished from a payor parent’s wages?
  • How are the incomes of the parties computed for purposes of determining child support?
  • Are ongoing payments of child support for other children considered when determining new child support obligations?
  • Will a payor spouse get credit for overpayments of child support?
  • What happens if a party is unable to make a child support payment in a given month?
  • How are the dependency exemptions (for income tax purposes) allocated?

To view statutory law relevant to child support, follow this link to Code Section

To view case law relevant to child support, follow this link to Case Finder

To obtain legal advice concerning child support or other family law issues, please contact Raynor & Farmer, P.C.