Raising a child is increasingly expensive, and few people have the resources to independently provide for all of a child’s needs. As a result, when the parents of a child do not live together, it is common for one parent to seek financial support from his or her co-parent to assist in raising a child. An action for child support can affect the rights of both parents and of the child, and anyone involved in a child support matter should seek legal counsel. The Fairfax child support lawyers at Robinson Law can assertively advocate on your behalf to help you protect your rights. We assist people in child support matters throughout Northern Virginia.Virginia Child Support Guidelines
In Virginia, all parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children. Typically, a request for child support will arise out of a divorce action or by filing an application for child support. Virginia, like most states, uses the income shares method to determine child support obligations. The income shares method developed out of the belief that a child should receive the same benefit of each parent’s income as if the parents resided in the same household. As a result, the court will determine the combined gross income of both parents, which includes each parent’s salary, as well as any tips, stock dividends, pensions, or other sources of income. Notably, spousal support is included in the gross income of the party receiving support and deducted from the gross income of the party paying support.
After the court determines the combined gross income, it will determine the amount of the combined income that should be used to support the reasonable needs of the child, based on statutory guidelines. A child support attorney in Fairfax can explain how the guidelines may apply to your case. The guidelines also take into consideration the number of children who need child support. After the courts ascertain the overall support obligation, that number is multiplied by the percentage of the total income earned by the parent from whom support is sought, and that will determine the parent’s child support obligation. In other words, if a parent earns 75% of the combined income, he or she will most likely be responsible for 75% of the amount of money needed to support the child per the statutory guidelines.Deviations from Child Support Guidelines
There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of support dictated by the guidelines is appropriate. Thus, if the court deviates from the guidelines, it must set forth a justification for the deviation. Factors that may support a deviation from the guidelines include the cost of visitation travel, imputed income of either party, monetary support provided for other family members, child care costs incurred due to the custodial parent’s enrollment in an education or vocational program, and debts of either party that arose during the marriage for the child’s benefit. Our Fairfax child support attorneys can advocate for a deviation if it is appropriate in your case. If a child has independent financial means, the court may find it necessary to deviate from the guidelines as well. A deviation may also be warranted in cases in which a child or parent has special needs or in which the parties entered into a written agreement dictating the amount of child support.Speak with a Dedicated Family Law Attorney
While all parents must provide for their children, many parents do not agree on the amount of financial support required to care for a child and must turn to the courts to determine a suitable support obligation. If you are in the process of ending your marriage or your relationship with your child’s co-parent, you should speak with an attorney to discuss your options for setting up a child support arrangement that appropriately provides for your child’s needs. At Robinson Law, we are adept at helping people seek a fair outcome in child support disputes, and we will work diligently to help you seek the best result available under the facts of your case. Based in the Fairfax area, our child support lawyers represent people in family law matters throughout Northern Virginia. You can contact us via our form online or by calling us at (888) 259-9787.