The Charlottesville Child Support Lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have experience dealing with child support matters during settlement negotiations or through litigation in either Virginia circuit courts or juvenile and domestic relations district courts.
Unlike equitable distribution and spousal support law, which allows a trial judge to weigh certain factors more heavily based on subjective considerations, Virginia’s law regarding child support is based primarily on two objective considerations: (1) the respective incomes of the parents, and (2) the amount of time each parent spends with the child. These factors are then applied to the statutory child support guidelines to arrive at a presumptive amount of child support for a particular family.
A trial judge has discretion to depart from the child support guidelines only if the judge identifies the amount of child support under the guidelines and considers evidence regarding the child’s best interests and the ability of each parent to provide child support. More specifically, a trial judge seeking to depart from the child support guidelines must consider the following statutory factors:
- Actual monetary support for other family members or former family members;
- Arrangements regarding custody of the children, including the cost of visitation travel;
- Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily under-employed; provided that income may not be imputed to the custodial parent when a child is not in school, child care services are not available and the cost of such child care services are not included in the computation and provided further, that any consideration of imputed income based on a change in a party’s employment shall be evaluated with consideration of the good faith and reasonableness of employment decisions made by the party;
- Debts of either party arising during the marriage for the benefit of the child;
- Direct payments ordered by the court for maintaining life insurance coverage pursuant to subsection D, education expenses, or other court-ordered direct payments for the benefit of the child;
- Extraordinary capital gains such as capital gains resulting from the sale of the marital abode;
- Any special needs of a child resulting from any physical, emotional, or medical condition;
- Independent financial resources of the child or children;
- Standard of living for the child or children established during the marriage;
- Earning capacity, obligations, financial resources, and special needs of each parent;
- Provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3, where said property earns income or has an income-earning potential;
- Tax consequences to the parties including claims for exemptions, child tax credit, and child care credit for dependent children;
- A written agreement, stipulation, consent order, or decree between the parties which includes the amount of child support; and
- Such other factors as are necessary to consider the equities for the parents and children.
The judge shall communicate to the parties the basis of the decision either orally or in writing.
The Charlottesville child support lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have extensive experience representing individuals in support matters of all complexity, and our Charlottesville family law attorneys have consistently been recognized as local leaders in family law services. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your child support matter.
For more information about legal representation in a child support matter, please call one of our Charlottesville child support attorney, John B. Simpson, at (434) 817-3100.