What you need to know about child support

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2023 | Family Law

One of the things that happen when parents split up is the determination of child support. This is separate from child custody determination, and the court takes various factors into account.

Parents should understand their obligations and know what to expect from the process and if circumstances change in the future.

Parental obligation

According to Virginia Law, parents have a legal obligation to provide support for their children. The basic premise of child support is that the child should receive the same amount of support as if the parents lived together.

There is a minimum monthly obligation for each parent. The exemptions to this minimum is if a parent lacks the ability to pay support and is:

  • Serving a life sentence with no parole
  • In a mental institution
  • Involuntarily unable to make a living
  • Permanently disabled with no income source

Calculation of child support amount

According to the Virginia Department of Social Services, the state uses a specific mathematical formula to determine the amount of support each parent is responsible for. The basic information used in the formula includes all sources of income from each parent, childcare expenses, spousal support payments and the child’s health insurance expenses. Other considerations include the involvement of each parent in taking care of the child and the child’s needs.

Requirements when financial situations change

After the initial support order, one or both parents may have a change in circumstances that increase or decrease their income. If this occurs, there may be a request for a support modification. However, until there is an official modification order, each parent continues to be responsible for the original support payments. If not paid, there may be enforcement actions.