The basics of child support

The Commonwealth of Virginia has determined that the legal parents of a child are responsible for supporting that child.  The Commonwealth also believes that a child should share in the lifestyle of the parents.  What this means is that a family with a monthly gross income of $1,000 per month will pay much less than a family with a monthly gross income of $8,000.

Virginia makes the determination of child support very easy.  Section 20-108.2 of the Code of Virginia actually has numbers which serve as the presumed amount that should be paid in child support.  Parents can argue that they should be allowed to deviate from these figures, but this is where the discussion needs to start.

To use this ‘chart’ to determine child support, you first take the gross income of the mother and the gross income of the father and add them together to get the gross income of the family.  Gross income is the amount before any deductions are taken for taxes, garnishments etc.  In the case of military personnel, the gross income includes any amounts for BAH, BAS etc.  You go down the far left column of this chart until you come to the row that holds the value of the gross income of the family (the rows are in $50 increments, so if your income is between rows, you might need to do a little adjusting).  Now that you have the correct row, you go across that row to the column that indicates the number of children.  Note that the support for two children is not double the amount for one child.

As an example, if Dad has a gross income of $3,000 per month and Mom has a gross income of $1,000 per month, the family income is $4,000 per month so you go to the row for $4,0o0.  Assuming there are two children, you go to the column for two children and the presumed correct child support amount is $861 per month.   This is the amount that the parents together should be providing for the support of the children.

Since our example has Dad making $3,000 out of the family gross income of $4,000 he makes 3/4 (or 75%) of the family income and Mom makes 1/4 (or 25%) of the family income.

You take the number in the table, $861 per month and multiply that by 3/4 to get an amount of $645.75 that is the responsibility of Dad and 1/4 of $861 to get the amount of $215.25 which is the responsibility of Mom.

If the kids are living with Dad, Mom will pay Dad $215.25 per month.  If the kids are living with Mom, Dad will pay Mom $645.75 per month.  Of course, if the family is all living together, there is really no need to even consider this!

There might be other adjustments to these figures, but this always the starting point, and when you go to court you always need to have the guideline numbers available for the judge to review.

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