One relatively recent advancement in child support laws in Virginia involved the standardization of child support awards. Child support is based upon a formula that takes into account each parent's gross income, as well as the type of custody and visitation the parent enjoys, among other child support guidelines.
When it comes to determining how much to award in child support, sometimes the court will base its decision on the shared custody formula. This will take place when a parent has custody of or visitation with the child for 90 days or more annually. Child support will be based on the ratio of parenting time each party enjoys.
However, life is rarely as simple as it may seem on paper. Sometimes, despite the fact that they were awarded shared custody or visitation, some parents for a variety of reasons will fail to take the child into their care during these periods. Therefore, it only makes sense that child support based on shared custody in such situations shall be modifiable. In fact, when this happens a rebuttable presumption exists in favor of modification. This means that it is up to the parent opposing the modification to show why the modification should not be granted.
While stability is essential in the life of a child whose parents have divorced or are no longer in a romantic relationship with one another, the fact of the matter is that sometimes parents have an acrimonious relationship or may fail to uphold their parenting duties. Unfortunately, when this happens it is the child who is hurt the most. It does make sense, then, that if a child support order is based on shared custody, when parents fail to follow that shared custody schedule the amount of child support awarded should change accordingly.