Factors a court considers when ordering child support

Raising children is an expensive endeavor. Many married couples in Virginia are fortunate enough to have two incomes to draw from to cover day-to-day living expenses as well as medical, schooling and extracurricular costs. But when an individual becomes a custodial parent, he or she may have to flip the bill by him or herself. This can be financially challenging, to say the least, and may threaten to throw an individual into a debt spiral.

To prevent this, custodial parents should consider seeking child support from the child's noncustodial parent. The state has child support guidelines that help courts determine how much financial contribution a noncustodial parent should make, but there can be deviations from those guidelines. When deciding whether a deviation is warranted, a court will consider a number of factors. Amongst these factors are custodial and visitation arrangements, the parents' debts accrued during the marriage, any special needs possessed by the child and the standard of living that the child enjoyed during the course of the parents' relationship.

These are just a few of the many factors that must be considered. For example, the earning capacity of the parents may also justify a deviation from the child support guidelines. What is important to note, though, is that the amount of child support initially established is not final. Life changes, such as the loss of a job or a pay raise, may be enough to pursue a modification of a preexisting child support order.

Child support can be quite costly to a noncustodial parent, and a financial lifesaver for custodial parents. Therefore, there is a lot on the line when dealing with this oftentimes complex issue. Because there are so many factors involved in child support determinations, there is a lot of room for legal argument, too. This is why many Virginians choose to turn to skilled family law attorneys when addressing these matters.

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