Child Support


If you have a child or children and do not live with the other parent, you can ask the other parent to pay some of the child(ren)'s expenses. This is called child support. If you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement before your appointment, you may ask for a child support petition. There are special guidelines for child support in Virginia. The counselor will talk to you about how you would like the support payments to be paid.

If you already have a support order, but the other person has not been paying you regularly or on time, you should bring payment records with you. You will need to show how much the other person has paid and when. You also have to show how much support the other person still owes.

If you are asking for a change to an existing order for support, you will have to show why it is needed. You'll have to show that the situation has changed and how a change would be better for the child(ren).

If you are interested in filing for child support, you must call the Domestic Relations Unit of the Juvenile Court for an appointment. The phone number is 703-246-3040. Because there is paper work which must be completed prior to the appointment, we ask that you be prepared to arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

Legal Definition of Determination of Child or Spousal Support

A. In any proceeding on the issue of determining spousal support, the court shall consider all evidence presented relevant to any issues joined in that proceeding. The court's decision shall be rendered based upon the evidence relevant to each individual case.

B. In any proceeding on the issue of determining child support under this title or Title 16.1 or Title 63.2, the court shall consider all evidence presented relevant to any issues joined in that proceeding. The court's decision in any such proceeding shall be rendered upon the evidence relevant to each individual case. However, there shall be a rebuttable presumption in any judicial or administrative proceeding for child support, including cases involving split custody or shared custody, that the amount of the award which would result from the application of the guidelines set out in § 20-108.2 is the correct amount of child support to be awarded. Liability for support shall be determined retroactively for the period measured from the date that the proceeding was commenced by the filing of an action with any court provided the complainant exercised due diligence in the service of the respondent or, if earlier, the date an order of the Department of Social Services entered pursuant to Title 63.2 and directing payment of support was delivered to the sheriff or process server for service on the obligor.

In order to rebut the presumption, the court shall make written findings in the order, which findings may be incorporated by reference, that the application of such guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case. The finding that rebuts the guidelines shall state the amount of support that would have been required under the guidelines, shall give a justification of why the order varies from the guidelines, and shall be determined by relevant evidence pertaining to the following factors affecting the obligation, the ability of each party to provide child support, and the best interests of the child:

  1. Actual monetary support for other family members or former family members;
  2. Arrangements regarding custody of the children;
  3. Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily under-employed; provided that income may not be imputed to the custodial parent when a child is not in school, child care services are not available and the cost of such child care services are not included in the computation;
  4. Debts of either party arising during the marriage for the benefit of the child;
  5. Debts incurred for production of income;
  6. Direct payments ordered by the court for health care coverage, maintaining life insurance coverage pursuant to subsection D, education expenses, or other court-ordered direct payments for the benefit of the child and costs related to the provision of health care coverage pursuant to subdivision 7 of § 20-60.3;
  7. Extraordinary capital gains such as capital gains resulting from the sale of the marital abode;
  8. Age, physical and mental condition of the child or children, including unreimbursed medical or dental expenses, and child-care expenses;
  9. Independent financial resources, if any, of the child or children;
  10. Standard of living for the family established during the marriage;
  11. Earning capacity, obligations and needs, and financial resources of each parent;
  12. Education and training of the parties and the ability and opportunity of the parties to secure such education and training;
  13. Contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
  14. Provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3;
  15. Tax consequences to the parties regarding claims for dependent children and child care expenses;
  16. A written agreement between the parties which includes the amount of child support;
  17. A pendente lite decree, which includes the amount of child support, agreed to by both parties or by counsel for the parties; and
  18. Such other factors, including tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities for the parents and children.

C. In any proceeding under this title or Title 16.1 or Title 63.2 on the issue of determining child support, the court shall have the authority to order a party to provide health care coverage, as defined in § 63.2-1900, for dependent children if reasonable under all the circumstances and health care coverage for a spouse or former spouse.

D. In any proceeding under this title, Title 16.1 or Title 63.2 on the issue of determining child support, the court shall have the authority to order a party to (i) maintain any existing life insurance policy on the life of either party provided the party so ordered has the right to designate a beneficiary and (ii) designate a child or children of the parties as the beneficiary of all or a portion of such life insurance for so long as the party so ordered has a statutory obligation to pay child support for the child or children.

E. Except when the parties have otherwise agreed, in any proceeding under this title, Title 16.1 or Title 63.2 on the issue of determining child support, the court shall have the authority to and may, in its discretion, order one party to execute all appropriate tax forms or waivers to grant to the other party the right to take the income tax dependency exemption for any tax year or future years, for any child or children of the parties for federal and state income tax purposes.


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