Child support ensures the well-being of minors after parents divorce or separate. Virginia calculates the amount of child support based on fair and consistent guidelines.
Reviewing the steps in this calculation can help you understand what to expect if you are divorcing and have children.
Finding gross monthly income
The state starts by reviewing the gross monthly income of both parents. This number includes all income sources, such as salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions and benefits like disability payments.
Making allowable deductions
Next, the court reduces each person’s gross monthly income by certain deductions. Examples include federal and state income taxes, Social Security, Medicare and mandatory retirement contributions. These deductions help determine each parent’s ability to provide support. The result of this part of the calculation is the adjusted gross income.
Determining each parent’s income share
Under the state’s income shares model, the court divides the total child support obligation between parents based on their adjusted gross income. The Virginia Child Support Guidelines outline the obligation amount based on the parents’ combined monthly gross income and the number of children.
For example, a family with an income of $4,000 would have a support obligation of $645 a month for one child and $975 a month for two children. The court would assign each person a proportion of this amount.
Incorporating other factors
The judge can adjust the calculated child support amount based on:
- The cost of health insurance for the child.
- Work-related child care expenses.
- Extraordinary medical expenses.
- Support either parent pays for other children
When the noncustodial parent has significant visitation time, the judge may reduce support based on the number of overnights with the child.
An established child support order is legally binding. Parents can face legal consequences if they do not make these court-ordered payments. Either parent can request a modification if their financial circumstances dramatically change.