At its most basic, child support is calculated using Virginia’s presumptive support guidelines.  The guideline child support amount is based on the gross income of both parties, as well as the number of children for whom support is being established.  Although the amount is presumptive, there are limited circumstances that permit deviation from the guidelines.

Establishing Support

Establishing the right child support amount, however, isn’t always as basic.  Disputes often arise over the calculation of income, particularly when one or both party’s income is difficult to prove.  Getting the amount right the first time is vital because Virginia won’t allow a modification of support without a material change in circumstances.

Several factors can alter the calculation of support.  The payment for healthcare or work-related child care by one parent is the most common alteration.  Though rare, even greater deviations do occur, most often when a child has special health or education needs that require a deviation from the presumptive guideline amount.

Support Enforcement

Whether you need help getting the support that’s owed to your children or you need help defending yourself from possible jail time, we can help.  

Failure to pay support can land you in jail.  If you fall behind paying support, either the payee or the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE), an arm of the Attorney General’s office, can request that the court hold you in contempt.  If found guilty of contempt for failure to pay child (or spousal) support, you can be sentenced to up to twelve months in jail.

On the other hand, trying to collect missed payments from the other parent can be a frustrating process.   Requesting assistance from the DSCE can help but may take longer than you want, and their attorneys represent the Commonwealth – not you.  Having an attorney advocate for you in these situations can help hasten the process, and, in many instances, you may be able to recover your attorney’s fees from the other parent.

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