Child Support Attorney
Parents have an obligation to support their children.
It applies to parents who are unmarried as well as to parents who are married.
Establishing the identity of the child’s parents may be necessary in some cases.
Child support may continue beyond a child’s 18th birthday. The Court’s order must provide that support continue to be paid for any child over the age of 18 who is (i) a full-time high school student; (ii) not self-supporting; and (iii) living in the home of the party seeking or receiving child support until the child reaches the age of 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.
Virginia has established child support guidelines. The child support guidelines require the Courts to apply Virginia Code Sections §20-108.1 and §20-108.2 . Section §20-108.2 contains the mathematical guidelines that produce a presumptively correct amount for a child support award. Additional factors that may be considered by the court are set forth in section §20-108.1.
The amount of the award that results from the application of the Virginia Code Section §20-108.2 guidelines is presumed to be the correct amount of child support.
In order to rebut the presumptively correct amount of child support determined by the child support guidelines of Virginia Code Section §20-108.2, the court must find that the award would be “unjust or inappropriate.”
Before using the child support guidelines, the Court must determine each parent’s monthly gross income. “Gross income” is very broadly defined. Gross income does not include benefits from public assistance and social services programs or federal supplemental security income benefits.
Health care coverage costs are recognized in the calculation of the total monthly child support obligation.
“Child care costs” also are factored into the formula as long as they are caused by the employment of the custodial parent.
Parents are required to pay in proportion to their incomes any reasonable and necessary unreimbursed medical or dental expenses in excess of $250 per year per child.
Under a shared custody arrangement, the child spends significant amounts of time with both parents. Shared custody exists when a child spends more than 90 days per year with each parent. If such is the case, then a separate support formula applies.
After the court has determined the presumptively correct amount of child support, per the child support guidelines, it may consider the many factors that rebut the presumption. These factors, set forth in section §20-108.2 (B).
The court may order a parent to provide health care coverage for the children if it is reasonable under all the circumstances.
The court also has the authority to order a party to maintain any existing life insurance policy on the life of either party as long as the party ordered to do so has the right to designate a beneficiary. Where the party ordered to maintain a life insurance policy has a statutory obligation to pay child support, the court may also designate a child of the parties as a beneficiary of the life insurance.
Unless the parties agree otherwise, the court may order one party to execute all appropriate tax forms or waivers to grant to the other party the right to take the income tax dependency exemption.
Modifying Child Support
Numerous factors can lead to a modification of child support. Such factors may include a change in employment, loss of a job, or child support owed to another child. Child support matters can be quite complex and cause contentious relations between the parties.
For over 20 years, The Law Office of James J. McCoart, III, has handled Child Support and Child Support Modification cases.
If you are interested in discussing your child support or child support modification matter with an experienced attorney, then contact The Law Office of James J. McCoart, III, by telephone (703) 369-2734, or email.