Virginia uses child support guidelines to calculate support obligations. However, you’ll still need an experienced Fairfax child support lawyer to represent you. There could be reasons the court deviates from the guidelines, and you want to ensure your rights are protected.
At The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC, our attorneys have extensive experience handling this type of case. We help parents obtain, modify, and enforce child support payments in Fairfax, Virginia.
It is crucial that you understand how Virginia’s laws apply to your situation to deal with child support issues effectively. Contact our family law firm by calling us at (703) 271-6519 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your situation.
How The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC Can Help With Your Child Support Case in Fairfax
Do you need help with a child support issue? If so, we can help. Our Fairfax child support attorneys at The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC, help you fight for fair obligations. We help you protect the best interests of your children while ensuring you are treated fairly by the courts.
We are committed to ensuring the outcome in your case adequately meets your children’s needs. We are well-versed in child support laws and prepared to advise clients on the most complex cases.
When you hire The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC, we help you with your case by:
- Educating you on Virginia laws and how they impact your case
- Ensuring your income information is correct for child support calculations
- Identifying factors that could justify a deviation in the child support guidelines
- Petitioning the court for modification of payments when a change in circumstances arises
- Helping you enforce child support obligations when your ex-partner falls behind on payments
Child support is a complex issue in divorce and family law. Therefore, experience counts when hiring a lawyer. Our founding attorney, Afsana Chowdhury, is a top-rated family lawyer recognized by organizations, including The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys and The National Academy of Family Law Attorneys.
Many factors impact child support payments other than the formula in the guidelines. Let’s make sure you are paying or receiving your fair share of the obligation. Call us to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced lawyer.
Overview of Child Support in Virginia
The Virginia child support guidelines can be found in Virginia Code §20-108.2. The guidelines base the child support obligation on the parents’ combined gross income and the number of children supported.
The guidelines create a rebuttable presumption for the amount of the obligation. By default, each parent pays a portion of the obligation based on their percentage of the gross income.
Parents can petition the court to adjust the presumed amount. Factors the court might consider when adjusting payments include:
- Custody arrangements
- Payments for healthcare and childcare
- A child’s special needs
- The costs associated with court-ordered visitation
- Tax consequences for each parent
- Debts incurred by a parent for the benefit and care of a child
- Imputed income when a parent voluntarily quits a job
- Financial resources available to a child
- A child’s standard of living during the marriage
- The earning capacity of each parent
Child support is paid to benefit the child. As a result, a parent generally cannot waive their payment obligation. The law requires parents to support their children financially while they are minors.
What Counts as Income for Child Support Calculations in Virginia?
The term “income” is important in this type of case. A parent’s income is used to determine the obligation and the share each parent pays for child support.
Therefore, you must ensure the correct amount of income is used for you and your spouse to calculate your child support obligation.
Income for child support calculations includes:
- Wages and salaries
- Self-employment income
- Severance pay
- Overtime pay
- Pay from freelancing or a second job
- Social Security retirement or disability benefits
- State and private disability benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Military retirement benefits
- Unemployment benefits
Income from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and public assistance are not included as income for child support payments. Further, income received for a child from another relationship is not included in income.
Petitioning the Court To Modify Child Support Payments in Fairfax, VA
A substantial change in circumstances can be grounds to modify child support payments according to Virginia Code §20-108.
The parent petition for the change in child support must prove that a material change in circumstances justifies the modification.
Reasons why the court might modify orders include:
- Involuntary loss of a job or income
- A substantial increase or decrease in a parent’s income
- A parent becomes disabled or suffers from severe health issues
- A parent receives a substantial raise
- The child becomes ill or requires additional care
- A parent gets a higher-paying job
- There is a substantial increase in the child’s health insurance premiums.
Parents should not make oral agreements to change child support payments. These agreements are not enforceable in court. A parent could be in contempt of court if they fail to make their payments according to the current court order.
Instead, contact our office to discuss whether you have grounds for modifying orders with our Fairfax child support attorneys.
What Do Child Support Payments Cover in Virginia?
The purpose of child support is to provide for a child’s basic needs. The child’s needs could include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Extracurricular activities
A parent is not required to provide an accounting of how they spend child support payments. For example, the parent might use the money to pay their car payments. The argument could be made that the parent needs the car to transport the child.
If you believe your child’s other parent is not neglecting your child’s needs by spending the child support payments for their benefit, contact our attorneys. We can review your situation to advise whether you have grounds to seek a change in custody or other relief.
When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
The law requires payments to support their child until they reach 18 years old, are legally emancipated, or the court terminates the child support obligations.
You could be required to continue paying child support payments until your child is 19 years old if all of the following apply:
- Your child is a full-time high school student;
- The child does not support themselves; and,
- The child is living with the parent receiving the payment.
The obligation would end when the child graduates high school or turns 19 years old, whichever comes first.
Payments may extend beyond the age of 18 if the child cannot support themselves, they have a permanent physical or mental disability, and the child lives with the parent receiving support payments. The disability would need to exist before the child’s 18th birthday.
Parents can agree to make the payments longer than the law requires. If the agreement is binding in court, a judge could enforce the payments if it is in the child’s best interest.
What Happens if a Parent Does Not Pay Child Support in Virginia?
The Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCES) enforces child support orders in Virginia. If you do not pay court-ordered child support, DCES can take several actions, including:
- Wage garnishment
- Interception of tax refunds
- Report the child support arrearage to credit bureaus
- Place liens on assets and property
- Suspend driver’s licenses and professional licenses
Past-due payments accrue interest until they are paid in full.
DCSE can refer the case for court action. DCSE cannot sentence a parent to jail for failing to pay. However, a family court judge can sentence you to jail for civil contempt for failure to pay.
Depending on the amount of child support arrears, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, which could result in up to a year or more of jail time.
Jail is usually not the first step taken by the state when parents fail to pay. After all, a parent in jail cannot support their child. However, it can happen in rare instances.
If you cannot pay your child support payments, contact our lawyer to discuss petitioning the court for a modification.
Visitation and child support are separate issues. A custodial parent cannot deny visitation for failure to pay. If you deny visitation, you could be in contempt of court. Instead, you should contact an attorney to discuss their legal rights regarding.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Fairfax Child Support Lawyers
The Fairfax child support attorneys at The Law Office of Afsana Chowdhury, PLC, provide legal advice and compassionate guidance for all matters related to family law.
Read more of our Google Reviews.
- Virginia Child Support Information – VA Department of Social Services
- Virginia Child Support Guidelines – FindLaw
*Disclaimer – we do not endorse these companies or profit from having them listed on