The following is a basic overview of child support guidelines calculations in Virginia. A number of exceptions and special rules are not discussed herein. The information provided is not legal advice or a substitute for the advice of an attorney familiar with child support laws and practices in your local area.
Virginia child support guidelines are governed by statute. (See Virginia Code § 20-108.1). The court is required to consider all relevant evidence presented for each individual case when the child support amount is determined. However, there is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support calculated using the guidelines set out in Virginia Code § 20-108.2 is the correct amount (“presumptive monthly child support amount").
The “total monthly child support obligation" (presumptive monthly child support amount) is determined using the “Schedule of Monthly Child Support Guidelines" provided by Va. Code § 20-108.2. The parties’ combined monthly gross income and the number of children for whom support is sought are applied to the schedule to determine the “total monthly child support obligation". Special calculation rules apply for combined monthly gross incomes in excess of $10,000.00, which are not discussed in this article.
The sole custody total monthly child support obligation is basically computed as follows:
Payment is made to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent. The monthly obligation of the noncustodial parent is reduced by the cost for health care coverage when paid directly by the noncustodial parent or that parent's spouse.
Shared custody support calculations are used when a party has custody or visitation of a child or children for more than 90 days of the year. (A "day" means a period of 24 hours; where the parent with fewer overnights during the year has an overnight period lasting less than 24 hours, each parent is allocated one-half of a day of custody for that period. See Virginia Code 108.2(G)(3)(c)).
Calculation of the shared custody amount requires the use of each party’s "income share" and “custody share" as well as the “shared support need".
"Income share" means a parent's percentage of the combined monthly gross income of both parents.
"Custody share" means the number of days that a parent has (or is anticipated to have) physical custody (the child is with them) per year divided by the number of days in the year.
"Shared support need" means the presumptive guideline amount of needed support for the shared child or children calculated using the schedule for the combined gross income of the parties and the number of shared children, multiplied by 1.4.
The shared custody guideline child support amount is determined as follows:
It is common for parties to attempt to rebut the appropriateness of the presumptive support amount. The presumptive amount of child support may be rebutted if the court finds that it would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case. The following types of evidence relevant to the ability of each party to provide child support and the best interests of the child may be considered by a court when asked to deviate from the presumptive amount of child support:
Another commonly litigated factor in child support determinations is the parties’ monthly gross income, which may significantly affect the presumptive support obligation. In most cases the gross incomes are fairly easy to determine from W-2s and paystubs. Common issues include overtime pay, overtime hours, and commission payment expectations. “Gross income" is specifically defined by the statute as:
“all income from all sources, and shall include, but not be limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits except as listed below, workers' compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, veterans' benefits, spousal support, rental income, gifts, prizes or awards.
"Gross income"does not include:
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