Child Support Can Play a Big Part in Virginia Custody Cases

Edrie Pfeiffer
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Edrie Pfeiffer, Bankruptcy & Divorce Attorney

In determining child custody in Virginia, the subject of child support will also probably come up. If you decide that one parent has sole or primary custody, child support will help that parent take care of the child. Support orders will sometimes include paying the custodial parent, as well as paying for health insurance coverage for the child, and possibly for the custodial parent.

Aside from how important it is for your child to know who his or her father is, paternity must also be established to make a father legally responsible for child support. A father can voluntarily acknowledge paternity by signing a form, or he can take a genetic test. If the father doesn't want to take the genetic test, the court can order him to anyway.

Once paternity is all squared away, the court will work to establish how much support should be paid to the custodial parent on a monthly basis. Child support is determined by the Child Support Guidelines approved by the Virginia General Assembly. The amount the noncustodial parent is ordered to pay will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, but generally the court will look at each parent's income, the needs of the child, child care expenses, health insurance premiums, and if there are other children for whom either parent is legally responsible.

The Virginia Department of Social Services' Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) is in charge of collecting child support payments from the noncustodial parent and distributing them to the custodial parent. The DCSE can collect the money in many different ways, including direct payment from the noncustodial parent or withholding from paychecks.

If circumstances change, a child support order can be re-visited and modified if necessary.

Do you need help with a child custody or child support case? Contact the Virginia Beach law firm of Hampton Roads Legal Services at 757-340-3100 today for a free consultation