Child Support - Establishment, Part 1
Before going any further, please enjoy this disclaimer: The content of this post, indeed of all of my posts, is intended to reference only Virginia law. I am writing this blog to give some idea of the complexities that can underlie family law issues in Virginia and in no way am I giving anyone legal advice here. While I hope these posts will be informative, no one should feel entitled to rely on the information presented here as an authoritative source. Anyone facing a legal issue is well advised to speak to a lawyer face to face to discuss the specifics of that case, rather than relying on general information found on the internet.
With that out of the way, we get started. The system of child support in Virginia is not designed to be fair; it is designed to be easily enforced. Keep that in your mind while reading through this series and thinking about child support issues in the future because it answers a lot of questions, and often not in the way people would normally guess. This fact makes child support one of the easier aspects of family law in Virginia, but as will probably become clear as we continue forward, it can still be plenty complicated.
The first issue that comes up with child support is establishment, i.e. how much is owed, and this first series of posts is going to address that issue. In the future, I will also discuss enforcement issues, i.e. what the court does when child support payments are not made when due, and modifying an existing support order. Eventually we will move on to other aspects of family law, including custody, visitation, spousal support, and all the other issues that can come up in a divorce.
Establishment is usually a straightforward exercise, but not always. The state gives a formula for calculating the presumptively correct amount of support. That formula needs to know five basic facts: (1) the mother’s gross monthly income, (2) the father’s gross monthly income, (3) the cost of work-related daycare, (4) the cost of providing health insurance coverage for the child or children, and (5) who is the primary custodian of the child. This seems pretty easy, but each one of these items deserves some additional consideration.
In future posts in this series, I will explore these basic facts a little more each as well as discuss some other issues that can come up during a child support establishment case, including the always-fun deviations.