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How Are Deviations in Child Support Determined in Virginia?

For those currently going through a divorce case or a child support case outside of divorce in Virginia, the issue of child support may be a significant one among the many others you’re facing right now. Thankfully, Virginia uses a series of guidelines to ensure that child support determinations are consistent and fair. These guidelines are consistent enough that calculators are available online which can presumptively calculate the amount of child support for your case; however, in special cases, this number may deviate from what is expected to account for the specific circumstances of your case.

Deviation Upwards

Common cases which dictate a higher amount of child support than the presumptive amount usually include situations where children require ongoing support or more financial assistance than normal. As an example, for a family who has a child with special needs, child support may be increased to account for medications, payment for necessary treatments, and lost wages from time taken off to care for the child. These costs are seen as necessary support for your child and aren’t normally taken into account with the usual calculations for child support.

Child support may also need to continue past age 18, depending on a child’s circumstances. Virginia child support code dictates that child support is normally ended at the age of 18 unless the child is still enrolled as a full-time high school student and is living at home with the support of a parent. In these cases, the child support continues until either the child turns 19, or they graduate from high school, whichever comes first.

Deviation Downwards

Certain circumstances may also dictate a smaller amount of child support to be paid, and usually include significant costs to the parent who pays the support. A common example of this is when the payer has to travel a significant distance to visit their children, which could result in costs for hotels, gas, and car mileage. These costs are factored into the amount paid, as they’re seen as part of the costs of caring for their children, and do not need to be transferred to the other parent.

How Can I Ensure the Correct Amount of Child Support for my Case?

While there are a specific set of circumstances taken into account during a case to determine the presumptive child support guideline amount, the court is not required to abide by the guideline and can deviate upwards or downwards depending on the evidence presented. Your circumstances will be taken into consideration, but there is no guarantee that they will affect the amount of child support determined to be appropriate for your case. The best way to ensure that your child support is appropriately determined is to hire qualified and experienced legal representation. Norton Pelt, PLC has the experience necessary to ensure your case is handled professionally. Contact us today to get started.

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