Child support is the amount of money that you pay monthly to the custodial parent to cater for the needs of the dependent children. In Virginia, both parent are obligated to pay for child support regardless of whether they are/were married or not. If you are divorcing, you need to sit down with your child support lawyer and agree on the parent that will have custody of the child and the amount of money that each parent will be contributing.
To make matters simple you should agree with your partner on the amount to be paid, but if you can’t reach an agreement you should head to court and let the judge settle the issue.
How the court determines the amount of child support
When you can’t get into an agreement with your spouse, and you are in court, the judge considers a number of factors for him/her to decide on the amount that each parent should contribute. These factors include:
Children needs: If the child is sickly or developmentally disabled, he/she will require high level of support than a healthy one; therefore, you will be required to pay more.
Age of the children: Obviously, younger children cost less to support compared to older children. This means that if you have smaller children you will be required to pay less.
Ability of the non-custodial parent: By default, the court requires the non-custodial parent to pay the child support amount to the custodial parent. The court determines your ability to pay the amount depending on the amount of money that you make. If you are going to have challenges paying the amount determined by the court, you should ask your family lawyer to challenge the issue. When presenting the challenge you should note that your ability doesn’t include calculations of bills and debts such as credit cards, car payments and others.
Earnings of the custodial parent: As mentioned, it’s the duty of both parents to support their children. If the custodial parent has a larger financial muscle, you (non-custodial) parent may be required to pay less than when the other parent didn’t have the ability of taking care of the children.
Failure to pay child support
The child support amount determined by the court should be paid every month failure to which you stand heavy penalties which include 12 months in jail. If you lose your job or source of income and can no longer pay child support, you shouldn’t just stop paying—you should ask your divorce lawyer to let the court know about it.