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Under state law, both of a child’s parents are obligated to provide financial support to their child, regardless of whether the two parents are married or have physical custody. Typically, only one parent is asked to pay child support to the other, and the exact amount of support owed can vary significantly depending on the circumstances.

If you need help pursuing a favorable child support agreement or would like to modify one that already exists, you should strongly consider working with an experienced Richmond child support lawyer. Seeking help with your case from a seasoned family attorney could be crucial in ensuring your kid gets the support they need and protecting your own financial future as well.

Calculating Child Support Payments in Richmond

The purpose of child support is to ensure a child of separated or divorced parents receives the same amount of financial support they would get if their parents lived together. In practice, this means that the non-custodial parent—the one who does not have sole or primary physical custody—must provide monthly support payments to the custodial parent.

The total amount of support a child needs depends on the combined incomes of both of their parents. For the purposes of determining child support, income includes not only work wages but also money received from commissions or bonuses at work, pensions, stock dividends, and severance pay. If applicable, money received through alimony or other awards, such as lottery winnings, is factored into a parent’s total income as well.

Once the total income is determined, courts typically follow a formula outlined in Virginia Code §20-108.2 to establish the percentage of support each parent is liable to provide for a child. However, there are circumstances that could justify an adjustment to the amount this formula produces, as a local child support attorney can explain in further detail.

What Could Allow Deviation from State Support Guidelines?

Courts can take a number of factors into account when deciding whether to follow the established formula for determining child support. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Support obligations a parent has for other family members
  • The capacity a parent has to earn income and pay off existing debts
  • A child’s special needs due to a physical, emotional, or intellectual disability
  • Any debts a parent has taken on for the benefit of their child
  • Costs associated with visitation and/or joint physical custody
  • The child’s standard of living while their parents were together

A court may also adjust the amount of child support a person owes based on imputed income. If the court suspects a parent has misrepresented their actual income, or that they have intentionally taken a lower-paying job to avoid paying more in child support, the court can “impute” (presume) a higher amount of income and calculate support obligations accordingly. A knowledgeable lawyer in Richmond can help an individual parent contest or try to adjust child support obligations based on these grounds.

Speak with a Richmond Child Support Attorney Today

In many situations, child support is an especially complicated component of divorces and legal separations. Even though state law provides a formula for determining how much a parent will owe, many different circumstances could prompt a deviation from that model.

Because of all the different factors that can play into a court order, it is a good idea to seek guidance from a Richmond child support lawyer. To schedule your initial consultation, call today.

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