Divorce Lawyers Virginia Beach Virginia: How the Court Determines the Amount of Child Support
For the most part, child support payments are used for the ordinary expenses of food, shelter, clothing, education and medication needs for the children only. When determining an award of child support, a court in Virginia Beach Virginia will look at all relevant facts upon the following issues:
The Needs of the children are a top concern for the courts in Virginia Beach, VA. For example, a child with a medical condition or a developmentally disabled child will often require a higher level of child support than a healthy child.
The Age of the Children is also a consideration when determining child support payments in Virginia Beach VA. Infants and younger children often cost less to support than older children, however daycare costs, which can be significant, will also be taken into account. Older children have many varying needs, and are looked at on a case by case basis.
The ability of the non custodial parent to pay is also a consideration when the judge in Virginia Beach calculates child support. The court is limited in awarding child support by the ability of a parent to pay based on income from all sources. The new spouse’s earnings are only applicable if they are hiding assets or the paying parent is pleading that they are unable to pay due to debts or custodial parent is trying to show voluntary impoverishment. Generally your ability to pay does not include calculations of bills and debts such as car payments, credit cards, or any other non-essential item.
The earning capacity of the custodial parent will be taken in to account when calculating the amount of child support. Both parents have the responsibility to support their children, not just the parent paying child support. Thus, the earnings or earning capacity of the custodial parent will also be considered when determining child support levels. The custodial parent is not off the hook financially just because they have been awarded custody.
The Other Responsibilities of the Parents are also considered by the judge in Virginia Beach Virginia. The other lawful responsibilities of both parents will also be looked into in determining child support. For example, if the non custodial parent is paying child support from a previous marriage (a common occurrence these days), the court will take that obligation into consideration. Necessities of life, such as rent and food will also be taken into account by the court. However, the court will not reduce child support payments to make it easier for the parent to pay discretionary obligations or luxuries. For example, a parent cannot provide for a charity or buy an expensive car at the expense of providing for his or her own children.
To assist the court in determining the proper amount of support, both parties will be required by the court to prepare a financial declaration that is signed under penalty of perjury. Each parent will be required to fully disclose their income (from all sources), the nature and extent of their property holdings such as bank accounts, investments and real-estate and their financial responsibilities. The court will rely heavily on these documents in making the order and thus it is in the best interests of the children that the declarations be filled out completely and honestly.
Child support hearings are often adversarial, and sometimes confrontational. That means that when the parents cannot agree on the support order, (sometimes after compelling mediation), the court will hold a hearing to decide the issue. (This is sometimes done in the chambers of the judge in Virginia Beach as a conference.) At the hearing, each spouse (or their lawyer) will have the opportunity to cross examine the other on issues relevant to the support issue and each can subpoena documents and call witnesses to support his or her position as to the amount of child support that should be paid. Child support orders can also be appealed, although the likelihood of success is very slim.
The Virginia legislature has passed a law making it mandatory for the courts to use Child Support guidelines in all cases in which child support is sought. Although use of the guidelines is mandatory and there is a presumption that the guidelines amount is the correct amount to be awarded, the presumption is rebuttable. However, you must complete the guidelines and show the presumptive amount and then explain the rebuttal in the comments section of the guidelines. Parents cannot agree to waive a parent’s child support obligation.
The reason for the implementation of the Guidelines is that the General Assembly has decided that “the law and policy of this State is that the child’s best interest is of paramount importance and cannot be altered by the parties. A parent has a legal obligation to provide support for the child [in proportion to their gross earnings].”
The mathematical computation to determine the Guideline amount is fairly simple. The Legislature provided a form which must be followed:
Determine the gross monthly income of each parent.
a. Minus: alimony and child support paid to a third party and alimony paid in this case;
b. Minus: medical insurance paid for the child;
c. Plus: alimony paid in this case
d. Deductions from Monthly Gross Income allowable by law
e. Equals the adjusted income.
Determine the percentage: (Divide the mother’s Adjusted Income by the Combined Total Adjusted Income. Divide the father’s Adjusted Income by the Combined Total Adjusted Income.)
Obtain the basic child support amount from the table
Add to the table amount (if relevant):
a. work related child care;
b. extraordinary medical expenses;
c. and educational expenses;
Equals the total support obligation
Multiply the total support obligation by each parent’s percentage share of income (line 2). This is the presumed correct amount of child support. The noncustodial parent can also take a deduction for health care coverage when paid directly by the noncustodial parent.
There is a separate form for situations where the parents share physical custody of the children
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