WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT
If you have questions about child support in Virginia, it’s best to hire a knowledgeable family law attorney to explain your support options.
People often come to us with questions about child support – How is child support calculated? If my ex and I have equal time with our kids, I won’t have to pay anything, right? What if I can’t afford it?
Here are some of the basics of child support in Virginia.
Child support is a formula that takes into account your parenting schedule, both parents’ incomes, the cost of work-related childcare, and the cost of medical insurance for your children. The formula was created by the Virginia legislature, and once we put in all of those numbers, a judge doesn’t have a lot of room to make changes. You can see that there are a lot of factors involved – so just because your friend’s child support is a particular amount does not mean that yours will be too. There are lots of child support calculators online, so you should talk with your lawyer to make sure you are looking at the right thing.
Child support will change depending on your parenting schedule. The idea is that if one parent is taking care of the children a lot more of the time, they are taking on more of the financial burden (putting a roof over the children’s heads, feeding them, buying everyday items like shampoo, clothes, and Band-Aids), so the other parent should compensate them. Keep in mind that child support is not your right (or the other parent’s right) to receive it – it is your child’s right to be supported. By making payments to your child’s other parent, you are contributing to the child’s wellbeing.
The closer your parenting time is to equal, the less child support will be exchanged. But that does not mean that just because you have equal time, you won’t pay anything in support. If one parent makes substantially more money than the other, or if one parent pays substantially more in work-related childcare (before and after school care, summer day camps, etc.), even if you have equal timeshares, someone may still have a child support obligation.
The courts have the ability to modify a child support order until your child ages out – in other words, a child support order is never permanent. If you can’t afford your child support payment, the first thing you should do is speak with an experienced attorney. We will talk with you about your situation and see whether there are grounds to modify your support payments. There are lots of reasons for modifying support, such as a change in job, change in childcare expenses (if your child starts school, for example), or a change in your parenting schedule. If a major life change occurs, you should reach out to your attorney immediately to consider your next steps. If you do not formally request a modification of support, you may be stuck with support arrears.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Richmond, VA
To speak with one of our family law attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, and receive the comprehensive legal advice you deserve, call 804-320-9100 today and ask to speak with Jessica Boutwell or Melanie Friend.