Child Support Modifications in Virginia
In 2014, Virginia’s child support system underwent a long overdue overhaul with guidelines being updated for the first time in nearly two decades. The new formula raised the child support amounts for initial petitions filed on or after July 1, 2014. Even with the higher guideline amounts, there are still situations where you might need to request a modification of an existing child support order. Modifications are not automatic; one parent needs to file a formal motion with the court. If you’re seeking a child support order, or need one modified, it is best to retain a skilled Virginia family law attorney who has experience handling child support modifications and enforcements.
Circumstances that Might Warrant a Change
You cannot request a child support modification just because you think the other party is not paying enough. There must be evidence and justification to warrant the change. Modifications can be made to either increase or decrease the amount of child support. Some reasons that might justify a change in child support include:
- A child become disabled or ill and requires additional care
- The loss of a job or substantial loss of income by one parent
- A new job or substantial raise by one parent
Take note, if you or the other parent become incarcerated, that is not appropriate terms for requesting a modification order. Virginia deems incarceration as “voluntary unemployment.”
The law does not specify any certain time limit for a review but the following circumstances can also trigger a review:
- Child needs to be added to existing order due to birth or change in custody.
- Child is no longer eligible to receive continued current support due to custody change or emancipation.
- Either parent has a substantial increase or decrease of income.
- Current child support order doesn’t have a provision for unreimbursed medical and dental expenses.
- Health care insurance premium increases or decreases.
- Health care obligation has to be added to the current child support order.
- Work-related child care expenses go up or down.
- Either parent is a member of the National Guard or a Reservist who has a change in income due to a call to active duty.
Are Oral Agreements Valid?
A big mistake some parents make involves verbal agreements regarding child support. If one parent is expected to pay $500 a month and suffers a job loss. He or she calls the other parent and explains the situation and they agree to a lower amount. Without a modification to the existing child support order, the recipient can deny any oral agreement was reached and take the other parent to court.
Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC
If you are need assistance with a child support order or any other related family law matters, contact the attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC in Virginia. We have years of experience handling all areas of family law. Contact our office online or at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation.