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New Child Support Guidelines: “Material Change” or Not?

Child Support LawyersAs discussed in Virginia Poised to Update Child Support Guidelines, on July 1, 2014 Virginia child support laws will significantly change. Parents with no child support order in place may benefit from waiting until July 1st to file new cases, as they may receive more support under the new guidelines.

But what about the parent with a child support order in place under the old guidelines? Can he or she request a review of child support based on the new laws? The short answer is: yes.

The longer answer is as follows. Virginia courts can modify any child support order based on a “material change of circumstances.” Case law provides that changes to state law are material changes that justify the court reviewing the previous support order. Parents therefore have the right to request a review and modification of child support based on the new laws.

Filing a motion to amend support based on the new laws can be significant for a number of reasons. First, of course, the basic child support amount may come out higher based on the new guidelines. Second, the new laws remove the statutory minimum of support. Previously, an unemployed parent could be permitted to pay only $65 per month for child support regardless of the number of children. Now the unemployed parent would be required to pay a set amount that increases based on the number of children requiring support. Finally, the new child support laws remove the requirement that the custodial parent pay the first $250 of uninsured medical expenses per year. The new laws require the parents to split all uninsured medical expenses based on their percentage of the gross income of the parties, from the first dollar of such expenses.

Before filing any pleadings with the court, a parent should consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine whether a recalculation of support based on the new laws would be to their benefit or detriment, and whether a modification of support would be worth their time and trouble. From offices in Fredericksburg, Fairfax and Manassas, the experienced child support lawyers at Livesay & Myers represent clients across Northern Virginia. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.