Father and young daughter reading togetherThis is the next post in my series explaining how various child support laws work in the Commonwealth of Virginia. My last post provided an overview of topics that I will be discussing over the next several months. In this post I will explain how basic child support is calculated in Virginia.

Virginia child support is based on the combined gross income of both parents

When calculating child support, a complicated formula has the ability to take into account a number of variables. However, at its most basic, child support is based off of the gross monthly income of both parents. Gross income includes money that is earned or paid through wages, royalties, dividends, commissions, bonuses, severance pay, pensions, capital gains, trust income, and all other income sources. Noncustodial parents, or parents who make significantly more than the shared custodial parent, will be ordered to pay child support to assist with the financial expenses of the child. The percentage of income the parent is ordered to pay is related to how much money the parent makes, and how many children the parent shares with the other party. The more children two people have together, the more money one party will be expected to pay to support the multiple children. Parents who are in a lower tax bracket generally have to pay a higher percentage of income than those in a very high tax bracket. Caps on the amount of child support that is required exist for parents who make $50,000 or more a month.

Some exceptions exist as to what will be considered income. Benefits from public assistance programs will not be counted towards child support. Child support received for other children will also not be counted as income, nor will federal supplemental security income. When combined gross income is less than $600, the payor parent will be required to pay a minimum amount of $65, regardless of the amount of children, towards the custodial parent. It should be noted that a parent may be required to pay more of it is found that one is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed based on one’s skill level and education.

Noncustodial Virginia parents will not be required to pay child support under extreme circumstances

There are very few reasons why a parent would not be expected to assist in supporting one’s child. These exceptions include if the biological parent is currently incarcerated and has no chance of ever gaining parole. The same is true of parents who are institutionalized in a psychiatric facility. If a parent is deemed permanently and totally disabled and has no ability to earn an income, that parent may be excused from child support obligations. Being deemed totally disabled is not an easy task, and must be medically verified. If a parent voluntarily gives up their parental rights or has their parental rights terminated, they would also be excused from having to pay further support.

If you are a parent in Virginia Beach and have questions about child support obligations it is important to discuss these concerns with a knowledgeable family law attorney. Contact us today for more information.