Child Support Attorneys in Richmond, VA
(*Note – many support cases do not involve divorce).
Any time two parents are not able to agree on the financial support of their children, the court system is set up to ultimately order the amount of support based on the parents’ incomes as well as other factors such as daycare and health insurance costs.
Both parents want what’s best for the children, but it can be easy to lose sight of this once you’re deep into the proceedings. Without a proper court hearing and child support setup, your children’s lives can become complicated and stressful.
Because so much is at stake, you need a family law attorney that can help you navigate through the child support proceeding and guarantee the best for your children. That’s why you need the experienced attorneys at Cravens and Noll.
How is Child Support Determined?
Child support is greatly affected by the custody of the children. Depending on who has majority custody, or if both parents share custody, that ruling will determine how the total for child support is finalized.
In Virginia, child support is initially based on the parent’s combined monthly gross income. Along with this regular income, the court also considers the expenses for the children, including:
- Health care costs
- Daycare Costs
- Any debts taken on during a marriage that involve the children
- Any special needs of the children
Once these expenses have been included, the court will then include the child custody ruling to determine how much each parent needs to contribute to child support each month.
Before going to court, it’s important to figure out your ideal child support plan with your attorney. This way, you can ensure that your needs are heard in court in case the judge doesn’t initially see your way.
How Child Support is Enforced
No matter how smoothly a child support proceeding may go, situations change throughout our lives. As such, the issue sometimes arises of the non-custodial parent failing to pay their monthly child support. In that event, Virginia has a few laws set in place to make sure child support is paid by the appropriate parties.
In Virginia, child support can be managed and enforced by the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE). The department offers many ways to pay the monthly child support costs, along with resources to help divorced families stay together and discuss specific concerns.
In the event that child support is not paid on time, the DCSE has many ways to enforce punishments. These include:
- Placing liens on the individual’s personal property;
- Seize state and federal tax refunds
- Withhold child support from a paycheck or from unemployment benefits;
- Seize worker benefits
- Suspend driver’s license
- Submit a summons warrant
- Deny passport
- File a “contempt of court” action known as a show cause action.
If the DCSE is not involved, the parent who is to receive child support can on their own or with the assistance of a lawyer file a show cause summons against the parent who is not paying the support. If the court determines that you could have paid for some or all the child support amount, you could be held in contempt. This can lead to fines and jail time until all or part of the past due support is paid.
If you are on either side of this conflict, the parent receiving child support or the one failing to pay, you should consult a family law attorney. They can advise you on how to avoid a criminal charge.
Can I Modify a Child Support Order?
If you believe that you will be unable to pay your child support, it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The action to take is the filing of a motion to amend the current child support order. If you have experienced a change in your income, you can try to reduce your monthly payments. You should never wait to file the motion to amend, even if you think your situation may return to normal. Changes can include:
- Involuntary loss of job
- Reduction in income through no fault of your own
- Custodial parent’s income increases
- Daycare costs are less or no longer being paid
You can also file a motion to amend to increase child support payments. These are usually based more around the child’s changing needs than the parent’s circumstances. These can include:
- Non-custodial parent’s income increases
- The current amount does not properly support the child
- The child’s needs have changed (daycare cost increase or increase in medical insurance costs)
In any case, you’ll have to convince the court that child support should be adjusted to meet these new demands. As such, you need an experienced attorney to consult and go with you to court. They can help you build your argument and convince the judge of your side.
Contact the Compassionate Attorneys at Cravens and Noll
When you need a family law attorney, you need someone that will care for your family. Your lawyer should be empathetic and responsive, sensitive to your family’s needs. At Cravens and Noll, our family law attorneys specialize in working with child support cases.
We will listen to your unique situation and cater your plan around what is best not only for yourself, but for your family. When it comes to child support, we are determined to make sure your family will be taken care of in the long run.
At the end of the day, we want to make sure the process of either paying or receiving child support is as stress free as possible. Contact us to schedule a consultation and begin building your child support plan.