When the well being of a child or children is being affected by a divorce or separation, resulting battles over child support can be extremely contentious. You may feel your co-parent is not being responsible or is failing to adhere to his or her legal duties. If this is the case, you need legal help to enforce a child support agreement. I can help you resolve a child support dispute whether you and your child’s parent are still married, are separated or are living post-divorce. I have more than a decade of experience, and I will provide the skilled representation your child support case deserves.
I handle a variety of child support cases involving but not limited to:
- Contested child support
- Modifications of child support
- Deviations in child support guidelines
- Enforcement of child support
Parents owe their children a legal duty of financial support until the child reaches the age of majority (usually 18 or 21 years old) or becomes self-supporting. When only one parent has primary custody of the child, the other parent’s obligation for financial support is usually fulfilled through the payment of child support. Child support is owed whether the child lives with his or her other parent or a third party and whether or not the person with whom the child lives can afford to support the child on his or her own.
In Virginia, child support laws govern the types of services and material goods that child support must cover. This includes items such as shelter, clothing, food and other basic needs. Child support is not intended to cover education, after school activities or similar events, unless they are specifically covered in the divorce agreement. If you are not certain what expenses are or are not covered, I can answer your questions. If you are going through a divorce, I can assist you in handling child support issues.
Calculating Child Support
Virginia has child support guidelines that factor in the gross monthly incomes of both parents, as well as day care and health insurance costs. Commissions and bonuses are also considered. The guidelines establish a framework within which to work, but they do not set forth mandatory rules. That being said, however, in most cases the child support guidelines are followed unless the other parent is self-employed, a child has special needs or the combined income of both parents exceeds the child support guidelines.
A parent cannot be ordered to pay for their children’s college education as part of child support in Virginia. Therefore, if you wish for the other parent to contribute to the expenses of college education we must draft that requirement in the separation agreement before your final divorce or during divorce negotiations.
In any divorce proceeding where there are children involved, the court aims to define support agreements that provide the maximum benefit to the child. Custodial parents typically get child support and non-custodial parents typically pay child support. This is often a contentious issue for many divorcing and/or divorced couples.
Assisting You with Your Child Support Needs
When you hire me to assist you with your child support matter, I will go over the guidelines with you and outline expectations for the approximate monthly child support obligation. During the process, I will work closely with you to verify all sources of income. If the other parent is self-employed and we cannot verify his income, I will use all the discovery tools available to determine his or her income prior to trial. If the other parent is not self-employed then I can determine the child support calculation with a few pay statements from each of you.
We will also need to address how un-reimbursed medical and extraordinary medical expense will be reimbursed as well as which party receives the tax deductions for the child/children on his/her personal tax returns.
Avoid Mistakes with Child Support Payments
One common mistake that some paying child support make is adjusting support payments due to assumptions about what was or was not covered under previous payments. This is a violation of a court order. If the non-custodial parent wants to adjust their monthly payments, they must do so through proper legal channels. Verbal agreements are not enough.
The parent who has care of the child is responsible for any expenses at the time they are accrued. Child support does not cover food for the child when they are visiting the non-custodial parent. It is considered to be a contribution to shared expenses. Each case is unique and deserves an agreement appropriate for varied individual circumstances. I tailor all of my legal advice to each case, one at a time. I do not offer cookie cutter solutions or advice. I have extensive experience in this area of the law and if you have questions, I would be happy to speak with you.
Whether you are seeking to establish temporary child support while your divorce is pending, permanent child support, or you need to seek modification or enforcement of an existing order, my priority is helping you resolve your issues as quickly and easily as possible.