Leesburg Child Support Attorney
Supporting children financially is the responsibility of both parents. In Virginia, this responsibility lasts until the child turns 18. If the child is still in high school at 18, the obligation to provide support can last until the child finishes high school or turns 19. If the child is severely and permanently disabled, the obligation can extend much farther into the future.
This obligation means that during a divorce in Virginia, or even a child custody dispute between unmarried parents, the court will have to decide how to divide the financial obligation between the parents. Read on to learn how the courts accomplish this task and contact Schwartz Kalina, PLLC, for smart, compassionate and dedicated help with child support in Leesburg and throughout Loudoun and Fairfax counties.
How do courts determine child support?
The starting point in any child support matter is the Virginia child support guideline. This guideline combines the monthly gross incomes of both parents and makes deductions for employment-related daycare expenses and health care premiums to arrive at a basic monthly support obligation. The non-custodial or higher-earning spouse will then be directed to pay a portion each month to the parent with primary custody. The courts use a different calculation if the non-custodial parent has more than 90 days of custodial time per year.
How can the family law attorneys at Schwartz Kalina help with child support?
Our Leesburg divorce lawyers can play a pivotal role in the child support determination in many different ways. For instance, the parental incomes upon which child support is based are defined very broadly. Courts count income from all sources, which may include salary, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, dividends, pensions, interest, annuities, capital gains, and much more. We can help make sure all income is included and reported correctly, including complicated income streams such as self-employment income or a parent’s share in a partnership or closely-held business.
We can also help when you or your co-parent are arguing for a deviation from the guideline amount. For instance, a deviation may be appropriate if the child has special needs. Additionally, courts may deviate from the guideline when a parent is also receiving support from other family members or when the child has independent means of support. The court can also impute a level of income to a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, and the court can make adjustments to reflect the standard of living to which the parties became accustomed during the marriage. In all, there are 15 different factors the court looks at to determine the needs and best interests of the child and the parent’s ability to pay. Our experienced litigators provide strong representation when arguing for or against a deviation from the guideline.
What if the needs of the child or the parent’s ability to pay changes after the divorce?
Even after a divorce is final, the court still typically retains jurisdiction over child support orders and can make modifications as appropriate. It’s up to the parent seeking a modification to prove there has been a material change, and the other parent may challenge this motion in court. Typical reasons justifying a modification include an up or down change in either parent’s income or a change in the child’s needs. We can work with you and your co-parent on a reasonable modification to submit to the court or represent you in litigation when the question of modification is contested. Our Leesburg family lawyers can also help you with child support enforcement issues as well.
Get Help with Child Support in Your Leesburg Divorce
For help with child support in a Loudoun County or Fairfax County divorce, call the Leesburg child support attorneys at Schwartz Kalina, PLLC, for a no-cost telephone consultation regarding your needs and how we can help.