As part of your divorce, you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse must work out how to support your shared child financially. Parents who pay or receive child support deserve to know how courts decide on child support amounts.
Money Crashers explains common guidelines judges use to determine how much a divorced parent pays to raise a shared child. Learn which life factors influence the court’s decision.
Custody and placement
If your shared child splits time between two households in Virginia, judges look at how much time the child spends at each parent’s home when setting child support amounts. Beyond time at each house, courts may also consider how much each parent contributes to the joint family income.
The more that a noncustodial parent earns, the more judges often expect her or him to pay in child support. If the child’s custodial parent earns a high income, then the court may not expect the noncustodial parent to pay as much. Specific aspects of a parent’s income the court considers include bonuses, wages, tips, interest, pension, self-employment earnings and unemployment benefits.
Quality of life
What quality of life did your child have during your marriage? Courts often consider the child’s life before the divorce and take steps to ensure the child maintains that lifestyle when deciding child support.
The current cost of housing, feeding, clothing, educating, transporting and entertaining a child also help courts determine how to set support amounts. Where you and the other parent live also influences the decision, as raising a child in a major metropolitan area often costs more than raising a child in a small town or rural area.
Child support also offers mental and emotional support to parents and children alike. Educate yourself on how courts help children and parents experience that support.