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An overview of child support guidelines in Virginia

Parents in Virginia understand that it takes money to raise a child. This is true even if the parents are divorced. Despite the fact that their relationship has ended, they are still both obligated to support their child financially. While the custodial parent supports the child by having the child live with them, the noncustodial parent may be ordered to pay child support.

Virginia has statutory child support guidelines that determine how much support to award. Either parent may be ordered to pay child support to the other parent -- it is not always fathers paying to mothers. A child support award is based on the child's reasonable needs and each party's reasonable ability to meet these needs financially. When it comes to calculating child support the court will look at each party's income and the average amount of money that families who have not divorced would spend raising a child.

Child support is meant to cover a number of items. Of course, it is meant to assist in the payment of food, clothing and shelter for the child. However, the paying parent may also have to include the child as a dependent on his or her health insurance policy. Also, child support is meant to assist in the payment in the child's basic education expenses. Furthermore, sometimes child support payments are meant to assist in child care expenses, any extracurricular activities the child is involved in, medical expenses that are considered to be extraordinary and travel expenses associated with visitation.

In general, a parent must pay child support until the child is 19-years-old, but may go beyond that if the child is still attending high school or if the child has specific mental or physical needs. It may be possible to seek a modification of an existing child support order, but only if a permanent change has occurred that is substantial and could not have been anticipated.

As this shows, calculating child support in Virginia is not as straightforward as it initially may seem. While there are statutory guidelines, there are other factors that come into play when calculating a fair amount of child support. Parents in Virginia who have questions about how child support is determined may want to seek the advice they need to better understand this issue, as this post does not contain legal advice.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Child Support Guidelines," accessed March 6, 2018

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