When parents divorce, it is expected that each parent will provide for his or her child. This is also true when the parents have never been married. In most cases, this means that one parent will pay a monthly amount to the other parent to be used for the child’s needs. In Virginia, this amount is usually determined through the use of the child support guidelines laid out to make this fair for each parent entering a divorce involving a child.
The factors included in the support calculation are:
In general, child support continues until each child turns eighteen, or, if the child has not graduated from high school, until the child graduates or turns nineteen, whichever first occurs. Besides, there are circumstances where child support can continue beyond these ages, if your child is disabled.
Regardless of how support is determined – through a court order in litigation or mediation, Collaborative Divorce or negotiation – child support is always modifiable where there is a change in circumstances.
The court can require each parent to support his or her children when the parents live separately. A parent seeking support can obtain a court order which requires monthly child support payments. A child support order is enforceable by the court. If payments are not made, the order can be enforced in one of several ways.
The most common form of enforcement is an income deduction order, which is what some people refer to as wage garnishment. When a parent is behind on support payments or continually makes late payments, a court order may be obtained to have the payments automatically deducted from their wages by their employer. This withholding of wages can be accomplished for past-due payments, as well as current payments.
Another form of child support enforcement is the withholding of tax refunds, where the parent’s refund is seized in order to make past due payments. Also, a parent’s driver’s license or other license issued by the state can be suspended until they catch up with their delinquent child support payments.