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Virginia Child Support
Child Support in Virginia

In Virginia, either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support, based on the following factors:

  • the financial resources of the child;
  • the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not ended;
  • the physical, emotional, and educational needs of the child;
  • the earning power of each parent;
  • the age and health of the child;
  • how the marital property was divided;
  • both the monetary and non-monetary contributions each parent makes to the family's well being;
  • the education of the parents and their ability to secure education and training;
  • tax consequences;
  • any special medical, dental, or child care expenses;
  • the financial resources, needs, and obligations of each parent;
  • and any other relevant factors.

Under Section 20-108.2 of the Virginia code, the courts calculate child support by determining both parents' incomes in what in termed their "adjusted incomes." Alimony and child support for children of previous relationships are deductions from the income of payer. The recipient of alimony adds it to her income. Also deducted are payroll deductions and health care premiums paid. Each adjusted income is then divided into the sum of both adjusted incomes, yielding a percentage. The noncustodial parent pays a great part of the support if he or she has a higher income than the custodial parent.

The parent with the smaller percentage receives the difference from the parent with the larger percentage. Norfolk Attorney Diane Fener said the formula is tweaked "when a child lives with the noncustodial parent more than 90 days a year."

The Income Shares Model estimates the amount of support that would have been available if the marriage had not failed. This estimated amount is then divided proportionally to the parents according to each parent's income. This is easy to do using the Virginia child support worksheet. Pay records typically substantiate the estimated incomes.

This routine takes into account both parents' gross income and applies a percentage to it based on the number of minor children they have together. The court takes the combined income of both parents and works out the proportion each contributes. That figure is then divided proportionately based on each parent's ability to pay and which parent has primary custody.

The Virginia Child Support guidelines are used unless the parents have agreed to a child support amount that at least equals the amount in the guidelines, or the courts determine the guidelines are unjust for a particular case and deviate from them.

Divorce and child support are described in the Code of Virginia; Title 20, Sections 20-107.2, 20-108.1, and 20-108.2.

Calculate Virginia Child Support

Other Expenses and Deductions

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. Childcare and extraordinary medical expenses are considered mandatory add-ons. Virginia adds certain expenses onto support obligations, such as childcare expenses when they're incurred so the custodial parent can go to work.

Private school tuition, for instance, is permissive add-on.

Child Support Enforcement

Virginia provides for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support, much like income tax withholding. Both parties generally find withholding easier. When support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments, and then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

No more than 50 percent of their disposable income can be attached if a person cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders. That number goes to 55 percent if the noncustodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependants under the current order, and 65 percent for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

In Virginia the deadbeat faces suspension of his or her driver's license. He or she may also face the confiscation of income tax refunds and investment funds. The Commonwealth liens real estate and in extreme cases jails deadbeat parents until they make good on a percentage of overdue support (called a "purge amount").

More information about Virginia Child Support Enforcement can be found at their website.


Generally, the obligation ends when the child reaches 18 years of age or the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. A child will also automatically be ineligible for child support if that child marries, is removed from disability status by a court order, or the child dies.

Deviation Factors

Under Section 20-108.1 of Virginia's Code, the court assumes that any child support figure arrived at through guidelines calculations is correct and they will use that figure in a child support order unless you give them a compelling reason not to. These reasons might include a child with extraordinary medical needs. Virginia law requires a judge to make a guideline's calculation before considering factors that might adjust it.

The courts may determine the guidelines are unjust for a particular case based upon the relevant evidence pertaining to the following factors:

  • actual monetary support for other children, other family members or former family members;
  • arrangements regarding custody of the children;
  • attributed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed, as long as income may not be attributed to the custodial parent when a child is not in school and child care services are not available, and the cost of such child care services are not included in the computation;
  • debts of either party arising during the marriage for the benefit of the child;
  • debts incurred for production of income;
  • direct payments ordered by the court for health care coverage, maintaining life insurance coverage, education expenses or other court-ordered direct payments for the benefit of the child costs related to the provision of health care coverage;
  • extraordinary capital gains such as capital gains resulting from the sale of the marital house;
  • age, physical and mental condition of the child or children, including extraordinary medical or dental expenses and child care expenses;
  • independent financial resources (if any) of the child or children;
  • standard of living for the family established during the marriage;
  • earning capacity, obligations, needs and financial resources of each parent;
  • education and training of the parties and the ability and opportunity for the parties to secure such training and education;
  • contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
  • provisions made with regard to the marital property;
  • tax consequences to the parties regarding claims for dependent children and child care expenses;
  • a written agreement between the parties which includes the amount of child support;
  • a stipulated decree, which includes the amount of child support agreed to by both parties or by counsel for the parties;
  • and such other factors, including tax consequences to each party as they are necessary to consider the equities for the parents and children.

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