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How Child Support Is Calculated in Virginia


One area of a divorce that is more predictable is the calculation of child support. This is not something left up to chance, and actually follows a specific formula.

How Child Support is Calculated in Virginia

Each state has its own guidelines on how child support is handled. Virginia’s child support laws are covered under Virginia Code Section 20-108.2. The courts rely on a mathematical formula that is used to calculate specific child support payments. The formula will be used differently in every case, depending on the individual custody agreement. There are several different types of custody, which can include:

  • Sole physical custody: Also called “primary physical custody.”  Sole physical custody in Virginia means that the non-custodial parent has 89 or less 24-hour periods with the child each year.
  • Shared physical custody: Shared physical custody means that each parent has at least 90 or more 24-hour periods with the child each year.

The Virginia state table outlines what a parent is responsible for paying at different family income levels for households who have up to six children. For example, if the combined family is over a certain amount that falls outside of the Virginia state table, support would be based on a percentage of income. Then you add items like work-related childcare expenses and health insurance.

Whatever the number is for the child support obligation will be apportioned between the parents based on each of their individual incomes. If one parent makes 70% of the entire family income, then he or she would be the one to pay 70% of the expenses for child support. Again, who makes the payment will depend on the arrangement for child custody.

Custody arrangements can impact these figures when there is a shared custody agreement. Each parent’s custodial share will impact the final figures. When custody is split, the court calculates the sole custody amount for each parent and then make adjustments from there.

It’s important to note that while there is a formula in place, the courts have the power to decrease or increase support as they see fit while taking into account the best interests of the child.

Can You Modify Child Support?

The courts recognize that situations change and there may need to be modifications made to the original support amount. Perhaps there is a drastic change in your financial situation, or your child is no longer in daycare, etc.

Contact a Virginia Child Support Attorney

Calculating child support can seem confusing to many parents, let alone figuring out how to appeal or apply for a modification. If you need assistance with child support, it’s important to speak with a Virginia child support attorney who can help guide you through the process. Please contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation.

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Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC maintains an office in Loudoun County in the Town of Leesburg. We welcome inquiries from throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.

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