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The accuracy of child support calculators

Virginia parents going through a divorce may turn to child support calculators to get an estimate of how much they will pay when it comes to child support. However, parents should be aware that these can have flaws and may give a different amount than what the judge eventually orders.

Online child support calculators only provide an estimate because they often do not take all of the external factors into consideration. Further, judges may interpret the parents' situation differently than the parents did when making the estimation. For example, if the judge determines that a child spends more time with the primary caregiver than the other parent estimated, that parent may be ordered to make higher child support payments than those derived from the calculator.

If the parents are able to amicably work together, they have the option of coming up with their own child custody and support plan. For example, the parents can determine how much time the child will spend with each parent, which could have an impact on the amount of child support a parent will pay. Additionally, parents can also reach their own agreement regarding child support, though they should be aware that a judge can modify the plan if it is believed that the terms are not fair or do not benefit the child.

Even if the parents are going through an uncontested divorce, determining child support can still be difficult. Because a primary caregiver can use child support to help with all of the costs of raising a child, including housing, food, clothing and education expenses, receiving regular child support payments is important. If a parent who was ordered to pay child support fails to make payments, an attorney may go to court to request an enforcement of the child support order.

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