Each year, the Virginia legislature considers numerous proposed updates to Virginia family law. These updates range from universally significant changes such as last year’s revised child support guidelines (updated for the first time in nearly thirty years), to the loosened notice requirements for finalizing uncontested divorces, to addressing the perhaps mundane question of whether or not courts should consolidate juvenile cases under single case numbers.
That trend has continued into 2015, with the legislature passing—and Governor McAuliffe signing into law— updated provisions concerning the amount of health insurance cost to be included in calculating child support in Virginia.
Virginia’s child support guidelines provide courts a method for determining child support based on each parent’s income, the support by either parent of “other children” (such as by prior marriages), day care expenses and health care costs. Under the new law, effective July 1, 2015, for purposes of child support the health … Read More »
If you find yourself in the middle of a contested divorce and the stakes are high, you may need more assistance than your attorney can provide. With an eye toward preparing your case for trial or simply aiding in the settlement process, several categories of experts can be utilized to bolster your position and create compelling evidence in your favor.
These experts are typically experienced as trial witnesses, and the best ones come armed with CVs that add weight to their testimony and shield them from withering cross-examination. Experts can also prepare reports for use as evidence in court or as tools to bring the parties closer to settlement.
You should consider whether hiring any of the following six types of experts would be a worthwhile investment of time and money in your ongoing divorce:
Business Evaluator: This expert can be critical in cases … Read More »
What happens to a Virginia child support obligation if the parent who was ordered to pay support starts receiving disability payments instead of a pay check? Can those disability benefits be seized through an income withholding order to pay child support?
Supplemental Security Income Benefits (SSI). SSI is a Social Security benefit that is based on financial need and does not derive from the recipient’s earnings record. Monthly payments are made to individuals who are 65 years or older, blind or disabled, earn little to no income and have few, if any, resources. A non-custodial parent who receives this type of disability benefit cannot have those monthly payments taken through income withholding. Likewise, any lump sum payment the non-custodial parent receives for past due benefits cannot be taken to satisfy child support arrears.
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI). SSDI is a … Read More »
Most parents facing a separation or divorce understand the importance of determining a child support amount. In Virginia, child support is determined by the application of child support guidelines which consist of a formula that factors in (a) the gross incomes of both parents, (b) any support paid by either parent for children from another marriage or relationship, (c) day care expenses and (d) the cost of health insurance for the child.
The question of how much child support will be paid is clearly important—but what about the question of when it begins? And specifically, when the parties have gone a period of time without a child support order or written agreement in place, is support owed retroactively for that period?
Under Virginia Code §20-108.1, courts in Virginia are to determine child support “retroactively for the period measured from the date that the proceeding was … Read More »
Concerns Over Shariah Law Threaten International Child Support Treaty
A few years ago, we covered federal action on the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Specifically, I wrote about how the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed key language implementing the Hague Convention in the International Child Support Recovery Act of 2012. While that bill did not ultimately become law, a new issue has recently arisen that jeopardizes U.S. participation in the Hague Convention itself.
As the 2015 session of the Idaho legislature approached closing, the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee of the Idaho House of Representatives voted to kill an update to Idaho’s version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The update would have brought child support enforcement methods in Idaho into alignment with the terms of the Hague Convention. The measure had passed the … Read More »
Children are expensive; there is no doubt about it. When a third party steps up and receives custody of a minor child, that custodian has new, often times unplanned for, expenses. Many times custodians want financial support from the parents but do not know where to begin. Do they file against one parent? Both parents? Will the custodian’s income be a factor? The questions can be endless and the process can feel overwhelming.
Assuming all parties (parent(s) and custodian) reside in Virginia, a third party custodian can seek child support through the court in Virginia as follows:
First, the custodian would file a separate child support petition against each parent, and request that the court docket the two petitions together.
Second, once the matter is docketed, the parents would provide and exchange their income information, and the court or counsel would proceed to calculate … Read More »
As most parents know, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows parents of dependent children to claim a percentage of their income as exempt from taxes. Separated or divorce parents will usually both want this exemption for themselves, as it can be quite valuable (the exemption was $3,950 per child in 2014). As a child can only be claimed on one tax return per year, a common question in child support cases is who will get the tax dependency exemption each year for each minor child.
According to IRS regulations, the custodial parent is the party entitled to claim the tax exemption for each child. A custodial parent for these purposes is the parent with whom the child resides more than half the time. If the parents have 50/50 custody of a child, resulting in neither party being the “custodial parent,” then the parent … Read More »
You’ve succeeded in getting the court to enter a child support order for your child. It has been a few months and the obligated parent is no longer paying or is not paying the full amount. The child support arrears are growing with every passing month. The Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) may be able to get the money flowing again. Below are some tools at their disposal, which you may put to work on behalf of you and your child.
Child Support Enforcement Tools
The primary way to enforce a child support order is through wage withholdings. But if non-custodial parents don’t receive a regular paycheck, are self-employed or work for commissions, the DCSE has other enforcement tools at their disposal. Those tools include placing liens on real or personal property, seizing income or financial assets, intercepting state and federal … Read More »
It’s a common story. Pursuant to your Virginia divorce decree, you are ordered to pay your ex-spouse $1,200/month in child support for your three children. A few years later, your oldest child graduates from high school and goes off to college. So what do you do? You figure $1,200/month divided by three kids = $400 per kid, so you’ll reduce your monthly payments to your your ex-spouse to just $800 for the two remaining eligible kids. Right?
Wrong. And in fact, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble this way. You cannot unilaterally change your child support amount without the court’s involvement. Your spouse can later take you to court and you will almost certainly be held accountable for that extra $400/month that you stopped paying.
How could that be, if one of your children is no longer eligible for child … Read More »
The Virginia General Assembly recently passed a bill to update Virginia’s child support guidelines. The bill, HB 933, enjoyed significant support in the legislature—passing the House of Delegates on a vote of 85-10 and the Senate on a 38-0 vote. If the Governor now signs the bill, it will go into law effective July 1, 2014.
HB 933 proposes three significant changes to Virginia Code Section 20-108.2:
Updated Child Support Guidelines. Virginia initially adopted the child support guidelines set forth in Virginia Code Section 20-108.2 in 1988, and while it has made minor changes to portions of this law it has not updated the actual guidelines in the past 26 years. The new law would not simply increase child support amounts across the board; rather, the specific details of an individual’s case could result in higher or lower child support amounts under the revised guidelines.
Removes Set … Read More »