When Virginia courts determine child support pursuant to the Virginia Child Support Guidelines, they must weigh each parent’s “gross income.” Gross income can include rental income, as discussed in Rental Income and Child Support in Virginia.
The relevant Code section, Virginia Code § 20-108.2(C), was amended this year by Senate Bill 455 to provide clarity on what counts as gross rental income and what can be deducted from it when calculating child support.
Previously, the Code merely stated that rental income was included in determining gross income, with no further explanation of what should be counted and what shouldn’t. However, the Code now provides additional detail, stating:
Gross rental income from any property owned individually, jointly, or by any entity shall be subject to deduction of reasonable expenses; however, the deduction shall not include the cost of acquisition, depreciation, or the principal portion of any mortgage payment. The party claiming any deduction for reasonable business expenses or reasonable expenses for rental property shall have the burden of proof to establish such expenses by a preponderance of the evidence.Virginia Code § 20-108.2(C)
While allowable deductions may include capital improvements (permanent structural alterations or repairs that substantially improve a property, thereby increasing its overall value), any such expenses must still be determined by the court to be reasonable. Further, while the burden of proving exceptions to countable rental income was already on the party claiming them, the Code now clarifies that the burden of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence” standard—i.e., more likely than not.
A self-serving chart or summary of expenses is not sufficient on its own. Deductible expenses can be shown to the court via copies of checks, receipts, tax returns, mortgage statements, etc.
If either party in your child support case has rental income or rental expenses, make sure to discuss these issues with an experienced family law attorney. Livesay & Myers, P.C. has a team of experienced family lawyers across offices in Fairfax, Arlington, Leesburg-Ashburn, Manassas and Fredericksburg-Stafford, representing clients throughout Northern Virginia. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.