Child support is the monetary obligation that a non custodial parent pays to the parent who has custody of the child. In Virginia, both parents are financially responsible for the child, and the law presumes that the parent with whom the child resides primarily pays for many of the child’s most expenses and needs, therefore, only the noncustodial parent will be responsible child support.
Child support can either be awarded administratively at the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) or through judicial means in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (J&DR Court) or in the Circuit Court as part of a separation agreement or divorce decree.
The Process of Receiving Child Support:
The establishment of a Child Support Order can be accomplished either by an independent petition in J&DR Court or in the Circuit Court as part of a divorce case. During a hearing to establish child support, a court will evaluate the evidence presented which usually includes evidence regarding parties’ income, monthly health insurance cost of the child, monthly work related child care cost etc., and issue a Child Support Order if warranted. At that time, the court may also put into place a mechanism for enforcement of the Child Support Order.
The Court will also order any back child support owed (calculated from the time a child support petition or divorce petition requesting child support was filed), also known as child support arrears if any is owed.
Determination of Child Support:
The determination of child support is different for every family and even for each child within a family. Courts will look to set child support in an amount sufficient to provide for a child’s necessary expenses, which include food, shelter, clothing, education, and health care. Courts in Virginia use the Code of Virginia’s Child Support Guidelines to set the amount of support based upon the parent’s income, time with the child, and other financial matters.
Additionally, the court is permitted to consider the following factors when determining the final obligation amount: the needs of the child; the child’s age; the ability for the noncustodial parent to pay the support obligation; any special needs the child may have; costs for child care; monetary support for other family members; and, other factors that necessary to provide a fair Child Support Order for the child.
The amount of support calculated by using the Child Support Guidelines is presumptively correct thus, if the court wishes to set a different amount based upon the previously mentioned factors, it must give a justification, in writing, stating the reasons for the deviation. Above all, when setting the child support amount, the court will always do what is in the best interest of the child.
Duration of Child Support in Virginia:
Child support payments may terminate when the child reaches 19 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first, unless the child has a mental or physical illness requiring continued support by the custodial parent. Sometimes whether a child is emancipated may be contested. It is important that you consult an attorney if there are issues regarding whether your support order should continue. Also, if the child’s parents agree to extend child support beyond that required in the statute by a written agreement, the court will not typically step in to change the terms of that agreement.
At Khanna Law we successfully help our clients navigate the complicated child support process on a regular basis. We pride ourselves in guiding you, protecting your rights and providing dedicated, intelligent and reliable representation.
To schedule a consultation regarding your child support case, call 571-766-6860 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.