Family Law Practices
Fairfax Child Support LawyerOften the primary concern for families during a divorce is maintaining a stable and suitable environment for the children in the family. The law also aims to protect children through specific child support requirements. These requirements help to ensure that parents have the financial resources to provide for a child’s basic needs. Child support questions can arise as part of a divorce case, paternity case, or between unmarried parents who do not live together. Child support might seem like a straightforward matter, but many child support matters can be contentious between parents.
Consider Your Family's Best Interests During DivorceWhile many factors can complicate the issue of child support, our Fairfax child support lawyer at Curran Moher Weis strives to ensure that the best interests of children are met during and after a divorce. If you need assistance with any type of child support case, reach out directly for a consultation today. We work to ensure that parents receive fair and reasonable child support orders.
What is Mandated by Virginia for Child Support?The Commonwealth of Virginia requires that both parents contribute financial support to provide necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter for their children. In Virginia, this mandate usually terminates when the child is emancipated (e.g. turns eighteen and graduates high school or turns nineteen). Still, it may extend beyond that point if the child is physically or mentally disabled and as a result is unable to support him or herself.
How is Child Support Calculated in Virginia?
Calculating Child Support in Virginia & Child Support Lawyers
- Childcare payments are generally dependent in some ways on State law. Virginia laws set child support amounts according to their earnings. The law provides a list of all parents' joint incomes and how much the parents can pay out of these sums. The court will consider the typical income sources of the case including salaries, income from investments, pensions, and retirement. The money earned from Supplemental Security Income or government support is also excluded from a child support calculation.
- Child support in Virginia is typically based on a set formula called the child support guidelines. The court inputs several items into the formula: both parents’ incomes, health care costs for the child or children only, and work-related childcare costs. Also, if the non-custodial parent cares for the children for over 90 days per year, the guidelines are adjusted and the child support is decreased.
- Judges may deviate from the guidelines when necessary to best meet the needs of each child. For example, increased support may be required when a child has higher-than-average medical expenses. Another instance may occur when a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed and support is calculated based on what the parent is capable of earning. The guidance of our experienced legal counsel at Curran Moher Weis will protect your interests in the area of child support.
Determining A Parent's Income For SupportYou must ensure that child support calculation are accurate, so you get a fair result. The first step is to properly identify all sources of income for each parent. Sources of income can include the following:
- Wages and salaries
- Self-employment income
- Bonuses and commissions
- Severance pay
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Private disability benefits
- Social Security disability and retirement benefits
- Military retirement benefits
- Rental income
- Spousal support
Fairfax VA County Child Support Lawyer & Child Support CalculatorOur Fairfax child support lawyers ensure that the calculations do not factor in any excluded sources of income for you. We also investigate to identify all sources of income for the other parent - some of which you might not know existed. Another parent might conceal that they received bonuses or other sources of income. If needed, we can use subpoenas and other legal tools to obtain disclosures of income and related evidence.
Imputing IncomeSome parents will go to great lengths to avoid child support orders. Some people might voluntarily become or remain underemployed or unemployed to reduce their income for child support calculations. Fortunately, if your child’s other parent is attempting to avoid paying support, we can assist you. The law does not permit parents to avoid paying child support because they are voluntarily earning less than they should. The court can impute income to that parent for calculation purposes. We can oversee the assessment of what the parent should be earning based on their skills, education, experience, and other factors. Our legal team can then recommend to the court that it should impute a certain income level for the other parent to order child support.
Child Custody Can Affect Child SupportWhile each parent must provide their fair share of support, another factor that often affects child support is the parents’ custody arrangement. You will use different formulas depending on whether you share custody or one parent has sole custody. We ensure that the proper formula is applied based on your specific custody arrangement. Many parents assume that if they share custody 50/50, neither parent will pay support, but this is generally not the case. If one parent earns more income, they can still be ordered to provide support to the other parent who earns less.
Challenging Child Support CalculationsEither parent can request a family court to deviate from the standard child support calculations. To successfully do so, you must rebut the presumption that the standard calculation should apply and show that the standard calculation would result in an unfair result for either parent or the child. One example is when one parent needs to have an imputed income, as explained above. Some factors that might lead to challenges of the standard statutory calculations include:
- Financial support for other family members
- Travel costs of visitation
- Child care costs for one parent to attend educational programs that will increase their income
- Debts the parents incurred for the child’s needs
- Physical, medical, or emotional special needs of the child
- The child’s independent financial resources
- The standard of living the child enjoyed when the parents were together