West VirginiaChild Support Laws
West 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 West Virginia has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in West Virginia, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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West 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.
West 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 West Virginia's child support law include childcare costs and extraordinary medical costs. These costs may be additions to the basic West Virginia child support order.
Factors considered in awarding spousal support, child support or separate maintenance.
In cases where the parties to an action commenced under the provisions of this article have not executed a separation agreement, or have executed an agreement which is incomplete or insufficient to resolve the outstanding issues between the parties, or where the court finds the separation agreement of the parties not to be fair and reasonable or clear and unambiguous, the court shall proceed to resolve the issues outstanding between the parties. The court shall consider the following factors in determining the amount of spousal support, child support or separate maintenance, if any, to be ordered under the provisions of parts 5 and 6, article five of this chapter, as a supplement to or in lieu of the separation agreement:
- The length of time the parties were married
- The period of time during the marriage when the parties actually lived together as husband and wife
- The present employment income and other recurring earnings of each party from any source
- The income-earning abilities of each of the parties, based upon such factors as educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market and custodial responsibilities for children
The distribution of marital property to be made under the terms of a separation agreement or by the court under the provisions of article seven of this chapter, insofar as the distribution affects or will affect the earnings of the parties and their ability to pay or their need to receive spousal support, child support or separate maintenance:
Provided, That for the purposes of determining a spouse's ability to pay spousal support, the court may not consider the income generated by property allocated to the payor spouse in connection with the division of marital property unless the court makes specific findings that a failure to consider income from the allocated property would result in substantial inequity:
- The ages and the physical, mental and emotional condition of each party
- The educational qualifications of each party
- Whether either party has foregone or postponed economic, education or employment opportunities during the course of the marriage
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The likelihood that the party seeking spousal support, child support or separate maintenance can substantially increase his or her income-earning abilities within a reasonable time by acquiring additional education or training
- Any financial or other contribution made by either party to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity of the other party
- The anticipated expense of obtaining the education and training described in subdivision above
- The costs of educating minor children
- The costs of providing health care for each of the parties and their minor children
- The tax consequences to each party
- The extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because said party will be the custodian of a minor child or children, to seek employment outside the home
- The financial need of each party
- The legal obligations of each party to support himself or herself and to support any other person
- Costs and care associated with a minor or adult child's physical or mental disabilities
- Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable grant of spousal support, child support or separate maintenance.
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in West Virginia family court through a child support order. In West 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.
West Virginia Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in West Virginia?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in West Virginia?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in West Virginia?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in West Virginia?
- How is child support enforced in West Virginia?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in West Virginia?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in West 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.
West 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 West Virginia?
West 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.
West Virginia treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
How are child care costs treated by child support in West Virginia?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, West 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.
West Virginia treats child care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
Does child support cover college education expenses in West Virginia?
While the state of West 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 West Virginia?
In the state of West 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 West Virginia welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in West 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. West Virginia tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.