VirginiaChild Support Laws
Virginia Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Virginia has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Virginia, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Virginia uses the "income share" method for calculating child support payments, which is designed to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their child's upkeep.
Virginia's child support formula directly accounts for parents who share custody of a child, and support payment amounts are connected to the custody split. Other special situations accounted for under Virginia's child support law include childcare costs and extraordinary medical costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Virginia child support order.
How is Child Support Established?Whether a party has a natural or adopted child or children in the party's household or primary physical custody, and the child or children are not the subject of the present proceeding, there is a presumption that there shall be deducted from the gross income of that party the amount as shown on the Schedule of Monthly Basic Child Support Obligations that represents that party's support obligation based solely on that party's income as being the total income available for the natural or adopted child or children in the party's household or primary physical custody, who are not the subject of the present proceeding.
The sole custody total monthly child support obligation shall be established by adding:
- the monthly basic child support obligation
- costs for health care coverage
- work-related child-care costs and taking into consideration all the factors set forth. The total monthly child support obligation is divided between the parents in the same proportion as their monthly gross incomes bear to their monthly combined gross income.
Any adjustment to gross income cannot create or reduce a support obligation to an amount that would impair the custodial parent's ability to maintain minimal adequate housing and provide other basic necessities for the child, as determined by the court.
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Virginia family court through a child support order. In Virginia, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Virginia Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Virginia?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Virginia?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Virginia?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Virginia?
- How is child support enforced in Virginia?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Virginia?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Virginia?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Virginia law accounts for shared custody of a child directly in the child support formula used to calculate payment amounts. This means that, in cases where custody is shared, the amount of child support paid by the paying parent will be reduced according to the amount of time they have custody of the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Virginia?
Virginia has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
Virginia treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "mandatory add-on", which means that the costs of any extraordinary medical care are added on top of the basic child support amount to be paid by the non-custodial parent.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Virginia?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Virginia has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Virginia treats child care costs as a "mandatory add-on", which means that the costs of child support are added on top of the basic child support amount to be paid by the non-custodial parent.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Virginia?
While the state of Virginia has no explicit requirement for college expenses to be covered under child support, support for college expense by the non-custodial parent may be voluntarily agreed to by both parties, after which it is contractually enforceable.
How is child support enforced in Virginia?
In the state of Virginia, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Virginia welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Virginia?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Virginia tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.