Virginia Child Support - It Doesn't Have To Be Complicated!
If parent or caretaker chooses to pursue child support through the court system, there are some specific issues that the court must initially determine. The first issue is whether there is an existing custody and visitation court order in place for the minor child or children. This is important because there are different guidelines/worksheets utilized in Virginia that will be used to calculate child support that depend on the custody and visitation situation. The three guidelines/worksheets that can be used are as follows: sole custody, shared custody, or split custody.
The next key issue for the court to determine is to calculate the current gross incomes for each parent. Gross income means the amount a party earns before taxes and other expenses, i.e. healthcare, allotments, etc. are taken out. In Section 20-108.2 of the Code of Virginia, gross income “means all income from all sources” which includes income from salaries, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, some forms of social security benefits, workers' compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, veterans' benefits, spousal support, and gifts. There are, of course, exceptions in both the Code and case law regarding what can be used for the calculation of gross income, but the overall definition is extremely broad. There are also certain credits that can be given to each party for medical and dental insurance premiums paid for the child or children and reasonable work-related childcare costs. Once this information is properly established, the court can make a child support determination based off the proper guideline/worksheet. Alternatively, sometimes parents will come to their own agreement on what child support should be paid. They can do this through a verbal agreement, but a more advisable approach is to put the agreement in writing. Any written agreement can then be filed and approved by a judge making it an actual court order. Any court order can be legally enforced or modified down the road if either party does not comply with it. Finally, parties can always determine child support through their local Department of Social Services Child Support office to both establish and/or enforce a child support order or agreement. For more information, please contact your local department. At Morris Williams LLC, we frequently assist clients with obtaining, modifying, and enforcing child support orders in the Hampton Roads courts. Let us empower you to make the best decisions for your future by discussing your options during your child support consultation. Contact us today to schedule a time to speak at email@example.com or (757) 266-9425.