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 »
As explained in Six Ways to Enforce A Child Support Order in Virginia, failure to pay a court-ordered child support obligation can have serious consequences in Virginia. Specifically, an obligor’s failure to pay can result in withholding of their wages, the suspension of professional, recreational or driver’s licenses, liens on their assets, interception of tax returns, restrictions on international travel, or even an order garnishing part of their retirement benefits.
After learning of their options for collecting past due child support, the next question many recipients of support have is: is there a statue of limitations on child support in Virginia?
The Virginia Supreme Court answered this question in 2011, when it ruled in Adcock v. Department of Social Services that child support obligations are set judgments which are subject to a 20-year statute of limitations. In Adcock, the father of a child was obligated, through a … Read More »
On January 14, 2014, in the published opinion of Mayer v. Mayer, the Virginia Court of Appeals provided some much-needed guidance regarding continued child support for disabled children under Virginia law. Per Virginia Code § 20-124.2 a parent may petition and the court may grant the continuation of support for any child over the age of 18 who is (a) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, (b) unable to live independently and support himself, and (c) resides in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support. However, there has been no bright-line rule as to whether the petition for continued support has to be filed before the child is emancipated in order for the court to consider it, or whether it can be filed after emancipation. The Court of Appeals in Mayer greatly clarified Virginia law in this area, by ruling that (1) … Read More »
For single parents of children with autism or other special needs, navigating the issue of child support can be a confusing and anxiety-ridden process. These parents may require more child support than is called for by the statewide guidelines in Virginia, and may require child support well past the time child support usually ends. A proper understanding of several points of Virginia law can greatly assist these parents in meeting the special needs of their children.
Deviation From Guidelines
The starting point for determining child support in all Virginia cases is Virginia Code § 20-108.2, which sets forth our statewide child support guidelines. The guidelines provide a child support amount based on the incomes of the parties and any costs incurred for health care coverage and work-related child care. While such a straightforward formula may be appropriate under ordinary circumstances, custodial parents of autistic children may … Read More »
Due to hard economic times, more and more custodial parents with minor children have begun to reconsider enforcement of unpaid child support payments. To many, this task may seem endless or impossible, but in Virginia there are several ways to collect unpaid child support. Payees of child support can take action either in the court in which the child support order was entered or by using the Department of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). Here are six ways to force a delinquent parent to pay their child support in Virginia:
Wage Withholding: If a party is in arrears for an amount equal to at least one month’s obligation, under Virginia Code Section 20-79.1 a court may order the payor’s employer to withhold income from their paycheck. The amount of the withholding can be the amount of any current child support due, in … Read More »
Once again Charlie Sheen has made headlines, however this time it’s not due to “tiger blood” or unintelligible rants. Instead, Mr. Sheen is in the news related to something to which many parents, celebrity or not, can relate to – modification of child support. News articles like this one are reporting that Mr. Sheen has submitted a request to terminate his child support payments to his former wife, Brooke Mueller. He is requesting this change since his two children with Ms. Mueller are not currently living with their mother, but instead are living with Mr. Sheen’s other former wife, Denise Richards.
In Virginia, if parties are unable to agree to an amount of child support, a parent’s child support obligation will be determined according to guidelines which are established by Virginia Code Section 20-108.2. These guidelines incorporate a formula that takes … Read More »
The Virginia General Assembly’s 2013 session has come to a close, and the Governor has signed two new bills related to family law that were passed by the Senate and House of Delegates. Effective July 1, 2013, these bills will change Virginia family law in four very important areas:
Deviation from child support guidelines. Virginia law establishes that child support be calculated according to guidelines which establish a “presumptively correct” amount of support, but then allows courts to “deviate” from the guidelines amount based upon a list of potentially relevant factors. Effective July 1, 2013, the list of factors which might justify deviation is expanded greatly (from five factors to 15 factors), which could have profound effects on support calculations in certain cases.
Child care costs incurred while attending educational or vocational programs. Under current law, many custodial parents attempting to obtain additional … Read More »
In any separation, divorce or custody dispute, a party might seek financial support. It may be a request for spousal support to get back on their feet. It may be a request for child support. Whatever the type of family support sought, there are two basic strategies for resolving the dispute: negotiating an agreement or litigating a case through the courts. If one party is a military servicemember, however, there may be alternate methods available to settle these issues.
Each service branch has regulations requiring servicemembers to support their families in the event of a separation. The service branch involved can have a great deal of impact when deciding to pursue support through the servicemember’s command. Some branches, like the Army, issue very specific regulations, spelling out the exact dollar amount they will provide, the length of time it will be … Read More »
More than a thousand Virginia families are close to receiving their share of a million dollar settlement. The lawsuit, brought by the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE), is a result of improper actions taken by the Texas-based company Supportkids Inc. in collecting child support payments.
As reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other news outlets:
The lawsuit, filed in 2008, claimed Supportkids illegally used misleading “withholding orders” that appeared to be government-issued to get child support payments withheld from noncustodial parents’ paychecks. The company allegedly extracted fees often exceeding 35 percent.
“They were getting the custodial parent to assign child support payments to the company, and that’s not legal or enforceable in Virginia,” [Thomas M. Wolf, a private attorney who represented Virginia in the case against Supportkids] said. “Child support belongs to the child, not the custodial parent, so … Read More »