How Is Child Support Calculated in Virginia?

There is a lot of uncertainty in Virginia divorce, especially if you leave many of your decisions up to a judge. But the topic of child support is a bit less ambiguous. In fact, if you have access to the right information, you can estimate the amount of child support the court could order in your divorce.

How Does Child Support Work in Virginia?

In Virginia, both parents are obligated to provide financial support to their children. If the parents live apart, the state combines the income of both parents to find an amount the child might receive if the parents were together. Then that total support amount is divided between the parents based on their individual incomes.

Virginia’s guidelines about child support are contained in the Virginia Code §20-108.2. The court will use a complicated formula to determine the amount of child support a parent might owe in a particular case. The type of formula the court uses will depend on your custody arrangement with your ex. For example, you might have:

  • Sole custody, where the child stays with one parent for the majority of the year
  • Shared custody, where the child stays with each parent for at least 91 days of the year
  • Split custody, where each parent has custody of at least one child for the majority of the year.

In Virginia, the Department of Social Services also has authority to set child support amounts based on the same guidelines used by the courts.

Calculating Virginia Child Support Amounts

If you want to correctly estimate the amount of child support you may have to pay in Virginia, begin with the gross income of both parents. Then, combine the two incomes to establish a “family income.” The gross income can be adjusted for things like alimony or spousal support and government benefits.

Gross income might include different types of income such as:

  • Salaries and tips
  • Royalties
  • Bonuses
  • Pensions
  • Interest, dividends, and capital gains
  • Insurance or social security benefits
  • Spousal support

Next, the “Schedule of Monthly Basic Child Support Obligations,” a table in the Virginia statutory child support guidelines, specifies how much money should be put aside for child support obligations based on the monthly family income. If your family income is more than $35,000 per month, it falls outside the table and support is based on the maximum amount in the schedule plus an additional percentage. Other costs such as health insurance or childcare expenses may be added on as well.

The actual amount each parent will need to cover for child support is determined based on the respective incomes of the parents and the custody arrangements. For example, if a noncustodial parent makes 75 percent of the total family income, they might be expected to pay 75 percent of the child support expenses. While the amounts calculated using the statutory guidelines are presumed to be accurate, the law allows a judge to deviate from the guidelines if one parent is able to demonstrate that the guidelines lead to an unfair result.

Call on a Knowledgeable Virginia Divorce Attorney for Help with Child Support

If you’re unsure how the court will apportion child support or need help with other aspects of your divorce, call on DiPietro Law Group, PLLC. Our experienced Virginia divorce attorneys can answer your questions and help get you through your divorce. To begin, schedule your first, fully confidential consultation at (888) 530-4374.

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