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Divorce in Virginia: What about Child Support?

Divorce in Virginia: What about Child Support?

The state of Virginia expects both parents to support their children. Generally, child support payments are made by the non-custodial parent to the parent who is providing custodial and residential care of the children. Understanding child support is important for those who receive child support and those expected to pay it.

Child support is a legal issue that must be decided and ordered prior to granting of divorce in Virginia.

Speaking with a reputable attorney at the outset of child support dispute will provide you an overview of important issues to consider, including the following:

  • Reaching agreement: As with all matters related to children, parents who agree on fair and equitable child support payments can resolve their issues more quickly with less cost. Parents who cannot agree may submit their dispute to the court for resolution, either in the form of a Petition for child support or a suit for divorce.
  • Calculations:  Child support payments are based on guidelines developed by the state of Virginia. These guidelines were recently updated in July 1, 2014. The guidelines take into account the gross monthly income of each parent including all income, wages and other types of revenue, the cost of health insurance for the child or children, and the cost of work related childcare. All child support agreements are subject to court approval. A judge has the authority and may elect to deviate from the guidelines when appropriate.
  • Payment:  In most cases, the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) collects and distributes child support payments. The DCSE ensures child support orders are carried out and pursues collection efforts on behalf of the children of Virginia.

Child support is payable until a child is emancipated — by turning 18 while still in high school, or by turning 19 or graduating from high school, whichever occurs first.  Child support is also terminated if the child enters the military or gets married, or starts living apart from the parent with the parent’s consent. The payor parent may not withhold child support even if disagreements between parents arise over custody or visitation arrangements.

Children are entitled to the financial and emotional support of both parents. If concerned about calculating, paying or receiving child support, talk to a reputable family law firm such as Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, P.C.

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