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Child Support
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Virginia Child Support Lawyer

A divorce can be a challenging time in your life as most people experience an array of emotions, including sadness, anger, and fear. If children are involved, these feelings often escalate as parents worry about how to move forward and take good care of their children.

Minor children deserve support from both spouses. If you need help in obtaining, modifying, or enforcing the amount of child support that, you are supposed to receive, the experienced family law attorneys at Montagna Law have an extensive understanding of the complex provisions of Virginia child support guidelines, and they are here for you. Call our law firm at (757) 622-8100 to receive a consultation.

We are here to help you get through the complexities of your family law case.

Call (877) 622-8100 or complete the online contact form to request a free consultation.

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      What Is Child Support and Why Is It Important?

      Child support is payments made by a noncustodial parent to a custodial parent to help pay for the basic needs of the child. These payments are meant to ensure the child’s well-being. As a parent or guardian, you may apply for child custody support under any of the following circumstances:

      • You are the legal parent or guardian of the child with sole custody over them.
      • You are the legal parent or guardian of the child with joint custody over them.
      • You have a “legitimate interest” in the child, such as a relative or grandparent..
      • Your child is over 18, but you had a child support order established prior to the child turning 18, and you are owed overdue support payments.

      Virginia law stipulates both parents are financially responsible for their children, but the law does presume the custodial parent provides for the majority of the child’s financial needs. Payment of child support is regulated by the Department of Social Services through its Division for Child Support Enforcement (DCSE).

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      What Can Child Support Be Used For?

      Child support payments must be used to support the welfare, education, safety, and material well-being of the child. Child support payments will go to the custodial parent to allow them to financially support the child.

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      What Is Considered When Determining Child Support in Virginia?

      The determination of child support varies for every family and can even vary for each child within a family. Courts are looking to set child support in an amount that is sufficient to provide for a child’s necessary expenses, which includes food, shelter, clothing, education, and health care (more on that later).

      Essentially, your child support attorney will file a petition to receive child support on your behalf. The court will then determine if your situation poses the need for an award of child support. Child support will be set following the Code of Virginia’s Child Support Guidelines based upon the parent’s income, time with the child, and other financial matters.

      The factors that the court may consider include:

      • Support paid for other children or past spouses
      • Whether a parent is voluntarily or involuntarily employed
      • Cost of childcare needed in order for the custodial parent to be able to work or attend school
      • Custody, including the cost of visitation travel
      • Marital debts that were for the benefit of the child
      • Life insurance, educational cost, or other payments to be made for the child’s benefit
      • Any special needs of the child
      • Independent resources of the child
      • Capital gains made from the sale of the marital home
      • Costs to maintain the standard of living of the child during the marriage
      • The parents’ learning abilities, financial resources, debts, and special needs
      • The tax consequences to both parties
      • The distribution of income-earning marital property

      The amount of child support calculated using the Child Support Guidelines is presumptively correct thus, if the court wishes to set a different amount based upon the previously mentioned considerations, it must give a justification in writing stating the reasons for the deviation. When setting the child support amount, the court will always do what is in the best interest of the child.

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      How Long Is Child Support Paid?

      In the Commonwealth of Virginia, child support needs to be paid until a child turns 18 years old. In certain cases, support can continue longer. Circumstances where this may apply include a child being a full-time high school student, not self-supporting, and living in the home of the parent who receives child support money.

      In some circumstances, if the child is severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled and the disability existed prior to the child turning 18, a custodial parent may request additional support beyond 18 years of age if the child is unable to live independently and support himself or herself, and resides in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support.

      Is There a Statute of Limitations on Child Support in Virginia?

      In Virginia, each child support payment has a determined due date. According to Virginia Code 8.01-251 (A), there is a 20-year statute of limitations for each child support payment from the date each one is due as stipulated in a court order.

      Can You Challenge the Amount of Child Support Awarded?

      If the amount of child support you are awarded is not sufficient, you are permitted to return to court to challenge this decision. However, to increase the monetary support you receive, you must provide evidence as to why the amount is not enough. The court will likely do another child support calculation to determine if your appeal is warranted.

      Can You Modify Child Support in Virginia?

      Under Virginia state law, a child support order can be modified upon the request of either of the parents. The parent who requests the order to be modified, however, must show that circumstances have changed to a considerable extent since the original order was issued. Under the Virginia Code, a child support order can be modified under the following circumstances:

      • The parent who pays child support has lost his or her job
      • The income of the parent who pays child support has decreased substantially – at least 25% or more –  due to a demotion or job change
      • Either parent gets a substantial raise or lands a high-paying job
      • Either of the parents inherits a substantial amount of money
      • The child has developed a disability or is suffering from health problems and requires additional care as a result
      • There is a substantial increase – at least 25% or more – in the cost of childcare
      • The child support order issued by the court does not have any provisions for the cost associated with the child’s health and dental insurance
      • There is a substantial increase – at least 25% or more –  in the child’s health or dental insurance premiums
      • The child has become emancipated, reached the age of 18, or graduated from high school and no longer needs the financial assistance of his or her parents.

      Under any of the aforementioned circumstances, the court may decide to modify the order of Child Support as long as the modifications do not have an inverse impact on the level of care provided to the child by the parents.

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      What Happens If My Spouse Stops Paying Child Support?

      If your ex stops paying child support, you should speak with your family law attorney right away. They will, in turn, inform the court and initiate an investigation into that spouse’s delinquency. Rest assured that with the hard-hitting attorneys at Montagna Law on your side, your child’s other parent will not get away with neglecting their child support payments.

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      Is Your Ex-Spouse Failing to Support Your Children?

      At Montagna Law, our knowledgeable Virginia child support lawyers have more than 50 years of experience in various practice areas. We are also certified mediation experts and have represented hundreds of families facing emotional, challenging, and highly contested family law cases.

      Our child support attorneys will help you understand your rights and responsibilities, help you find the option for your child’s best interests, and assist you in obtaining a fair child support order. Whether you are concerned about your right to receive or your obligation to pay child support, Montagna Law has you covered. We promise to provide hands-on, dedicated, and compassionate legal service, and we will work hard to find the most harmonious solution for your family.

      To receive a consultation, call our child support lawyers at (757) 622-8100 or fill out our convenient online contact form. Our law office services the entire Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk. We promise to deliver sound legal advice to all of our clients and work to see child support issues are resolved.

      *The consult fee is $50 for up to ½ hr phone consults and $100 for up to 1 hr in-person consults. These consult fees are then applied to the retainer if the client retains us within 30 days of the initial consult.