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Virginia Child Support FAQ

Safi, Duran & Chim, PLLC Feb. 7, 2024

In Virginia, both parents, regardless of marital status, have an obligation to financially support their children. Each parent is responsible for a certain percentage of the total child support amount, which is determined by several factors, including income.  

At our firm, Safi, Duran & Chim, PLLC, we're aware that child support can be a complex and sensitive issue. To provide clarity, we've compiled and addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about child support in Virginia.  

Our experienced attorneys, Camellia Safi, Stephanie Duran, and Shirley Chim, are here to provide you with clear, detailed answers that help guide you through the child support process.

  1. What is child support?  

Child support is a court-ordered payment made by one parent to the other to financially support their child or children. It's intended to cover the child's basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and healthcare. The purpose of child support is to ensure that both parents contribute to the financial well-being of their children.  

  1. How is child support calculated in Virginia?  

In Virginia, child support is determined using the Income Shares Model. This model considers parents' incomes, the number of children, and other factors such as childcare expenses and healthcare costs. Speak with a dependable family law attorney for assistance when calculating child support. 

  1. Can child support be modified?  

Yes, child support orders can be modified if there's a material change in circumstances, like a change in income or the child's needs. To modify child support, you'll need to file pleadings with the court and provide evidence of the material change in circumstances.  

We recommend consulting with an attorney to understand the specific requirements for modifying child support in your situation.  

  1. What happens if the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support?  

If the non-custodial parent fails to make child support payments, there are legal remedies available. The custodial parent can seek enforcement through the court, which may include wage garnishment, property liens, or even contempt of court charges.  

In Virginia, it's possible to collect past-due child support, even if its been several years. The court can still enforce the payment of child support even if it hasn't been paid for many years. However, we recommend taking legal action to collect unpaid child support as soon as possible.  

  1. Can child support be enforced across state lines?  

Absolutely. Child support orders can be enforced across state lines through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). This law allows for cooperation between states to establish, modify, and enforce child support orders in all states, making it easier to collect support payments from a parent who lives in another state.  

  1. Can child support be terminated?  

Child support may end if one parent successfully motions the court for termination under limited circumstances.

  1. Can child support be terminated if the non-custodial parent loses their job?  

Losing a job does not automatically terminate child support obligations. The non-custodial parent needs to notify the court and seek a modification of the child support order based on the change in income. Until the court modifies the order, the existing child support obligation remains in effect.  

  1. What happens if the custodial parent denies visitation rights to the non-custodial parent?  

Child support and visitation rights are separate legal issues. If the custodial parent denies visitation rights, the non-custodial parent should seek legal recourse through the court. Failure to pay child support does not justify denying visitation, and vice versa.  

  1. Can child support be paid directly to the child?  

No, child support payments should be made to the custodial parent or through the appropriate state child support agency. Paying child support directly to the child can lead to legal complications and may not fulfill the legal obligation.  

  1. How long does child support last?  

In Virginia, child support generally lasts until the child reaches the age of majority, which is 18, or 19 if the child is still living at home and attending high school. However, child support may continue beyond that age if the child has special needs or is still in high school. We recommend consulting with an attorney to understand the specific duration of child support in your situation.  

Compassionate Legal Advice 

The child support process can be challenging, but our dedicated team of attorneys is here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. If you have more questions or need assistance with a child support issue, don't hesitate to contact our firm.  

At Safi, Duran & Chim, PLLC, we are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring the best interests of your child are met. Our team has the resources, knowledge, and guidance to assist you every step of the way.