During divorce, one of the biggest areas of conflict for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be how your children will be financially supported going forward. After all, by law, both you and the other parent must play active roles in making sure that your children's monetary needs are met.
This is why child support exists. Child support is essentially a payment that a family law court orders the noncustodial parent to make to the custodial parent to assist with the expenses of rearing the children. Here is a glimpse at how the state of Virginia handles child support.
Child support legalities and specifics
Child support obligations in Virginia typically last until children turn 19 years old. However, they can last longer than this if your child is still a high school student at this age or above, or if he or she has a certain mental or physical condition that requires additional support.
Requesting child support is possible in one of two ways. If your relationship with your soon-to-be ex is relatively amicable, you two may agree on the need for child support and then request that a judge approve a child support order during your divorce proceeding. Another route you could potentially take to request child support involves either you completing a child support application and submitting it to the local branch of the Division of Child Support Enforcement.
A child support payment amount is dependent on the child's reasonable needs as well as the paying parent's ability to pay. A judge will determine the support payment based on multiple factors, including the following:
- Both parents' incomes
- Medical insurance costs
- Daycare expenses
- Social Security benefits that the child may receive
- The child's living arrangements
The judge will also review the child support amount automatically every three years.
How to best proceed
Naturally, if you are the parent who needs child support in Virginia, your biggest concern may be receiving an adequate payment amount. Meanwhile, if you are the paying parent, you may be worried about being forced to pay an unreasonable amount in support. Gaining an understanding of the law may help you to vigorously pursue the most personally favorable outcome possible in a child support case while remaining focused on what is ultimately in your children's best interests.