Monday, January 17, 2011

Legal Tip: How is Child Support Determined?

How is child support determined?

In Virginia, child support is determined primarily by using statutory numerical guidelines based upon the relative net incomes of the parents and including the cost of the health insurance and child care for the children.  The number of overnights spent with each parent is also taken into consideration.  

In a limited number of cases, the Court can be called upon to deviate from the child support guidelines, where the Court finds that the application of the child support guidelines would be “unjust or inappropriate.”  

Following are a list of factors that the Court can consider in deviating from the child support guidelines:  However, there may be a justification to depart from the guidelines based on the following factors:
  1. Actual monetary support for other family members or former family members;
  2. Arrangements regarding custody of the children, including the cost of visitation travel;
  3. Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily under-employed; provided that income may not be imputed to the custodial parent when a child is not in school, child care services are not available and the cost of such child care services are not include in the computation and provided further, that any consideration of imputed income based on a change in a party's employment shall be evaluated with consideration of the good faith and reasonableness of employment decisions made by the party;
  4. Debts of either party arising during the marriage for the benefit of the child;
  5. Direct payments ordered by the court for maintaining life insurance coverage, education expenses, or other court-ordered direct payments for the benefit of the child;
  6. Extraordinary capital gains such as capital gains resulting from the sale of the marital abode;
  7. Any special needs of a child resulting from any physical emotional, or medical condition;
  8. Independent financial resources of the child or children;
  9. Standard of living for the child or children established during the marriage;
  10. Earning capacity, obligations, financial resources, and special needs of each parent;
  11. Provisions made with regard to the marital property at the time of parties' divorce, where said property earns income or has an income-earning potential;
  12. Tax consequences to the parties including claims for exemptions, child tax credit, and child care credit for dependent children;
  13. A written agreement, stipulation, consent order, or decree between the parties which includes the amount of child support; and
  14. Such other factors as are necessary to consider the equities for the parents and children.
These are considered in context with the financial status, assets, and ability of each parent.

Please contact us if you have questions or need legal assistance.

Firm Partner
Laura Blair Butler
Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C.
Charlottesville, Virginia

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