Most parents going through a divorce want to see that their child's financial needs are supported. Some of these needs are basic, such as food and a roof. Some of these needs go beyond that, and may include medical expenses, insurance and other activities. When a child's parents divorce, the court will usually order one parent to pay child support to cover the costs associated with raising the child. Therefore, it is important to have a basic understanding of child support.
Virginia law contain guidelines for how much child support a court should award. The formula itself is complex, and factors in each parent's income and the average amount parents who are married will spend raising a child. Either parent can be responsible for paying child support, depending on their respective incomes and the child's needs. Primarily, the court will consider each parent's income, who has custody of the child, how much is spent on medical insurance for the child and any Social Security benefits the child receives.
Child support covers much more than the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing and shelter. Other expenses associated with raising a child that will be factored into a child support order include school and child care expenses, extracurricular activities, health insurance for the child, extraordinary medical costs and costs associated with traveling for visitation with the child. Child support will last until the child graduates high school or turns 19-years-old. A child support order is routinely reviewed by the court every three years.
Child support issues can be thorny. The receiving parent may feel the amount ordered is too low, while the paying parent may feel the amount ordered is too high. However, what is most important is that the best interests of the child are met, and this includes the child's financial needs. In the end, both parents are responsible for contributing to the costs of raising a child, either by having primary custody or paying child support. Questions about child custody and support can be answered by an experienced attorney.