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Are Virginia’s statutory child support guidelines rebuttable?

Virginia law has statutory guidelines regarding how much child support to award. However, there can be a deviation from these guidelines if adherence to the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. The finding that rebuts the statutory child support guidelines needs to state how much child support would have been awarded per the statutory guidelines, why a deviation is justified and evidence of the following factors.

One factor the court will consider is what monetary support the parents and child receive from other current or former family members. If the child has independent financial resources, this may also be considered. Child custody arrangements, along with expenses associated with travel for visitation periods are another factor the court will consider.

Imputed income to a parent who is either voluntarily underemployed or unemployed will be considered, except in situations where a custodial parent of a child not yet old enough to go to school is a stay-at-home parent because child care services are not available. Each parent’s earning capacity will also be considered.

Debts for the child’s benefit incurred while married will be considered. Extraordinary capital gains made by selling the family home may be considered. The standard of living the child enjoyed while his or her parents were married will be considered.

These are only some factors the court may consider in determining whether there should be a deviation from the statutory child support guidelines; there are others as well. These factors affect each parent’s ability to provide child support, their child support obligations and the child’s best interests. It is important that any deviation made is appropriate under the circumstances. Therefore, parents that wish to rebut the presumption that the statutory child support guidelines should be followed should be prepared to provide the court with a substantiated argument in their favor that takes the above factors into account.

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