Parents who live separately from one another or have ended a marriage both share a responsibility to provide financial support for their children. Typically, the noncustodial parent will have an obligation to make child support payments.
Virginia courts apply guidelines from statutory law about child support to calculate each parent’s individual responsibility. Here are some of the things that parents in Virginia who need to make a petition for child support or begin making payments should know about how courts make determinations.
Courts take all sources of income into account
A judge will first evaluate how much income a person receives from employment. However, they will also consider other income including non-taxable sources. Examples include proceeds from a trust, investment revenue, and gifts.
There are statutory minimums
Even if a parent will experience extreme hardship paying a child support order, a court will set an obligation in accordance with legal minimum requirements. A court may make an exception only if someone is well below the federal poverty level.
A worksheet can help to establish a preliminary determination
Virginia uses worksheets to help parents identify their gross income and estimate their approximate payment obligations. There are different worksheets for when one parent has sole custody and when parents share custody.
Ultimately, courts will prioritize the best interests of children rather than parents when making decisions about child support. It is generally preferable if parents can mutually agree to support terms, but the terms of an agreement must fully comply with all applicable state law.