Virginia Support Guidelines Change the First Time in Decades

Effective July 1, Virginia’s child support guidelines will be transforming. The new guidelines are relevant to current economic times.

Pertinent changes to Virginia's child support guidelines as of July 1, 2014

In 1988, Virginia implemented child support guidelines, which are documented under Virginia Code Section 20-108.2. Up until now, Virginia has been one of few states that has never updated or modified its original child support guidelines. Given the number of changes that have transpired since the guidelines were implemented, child support awards did not accurately reflect today's economy.

Now, for the first time since 1988, the guidelines are set to change on July 1, 2014. The hope is that the revised plan will better reflect current economic circumstances. The new guidelines could mean either lower or higher child support contributions under the revised rules. There are three main changes associated with the adjusted child support guideline.

Removal of set statutory minimum support

Until changes are implemented in July 2014, the lowest amount of ordered child support is $65 per month for one to six children. However, the new law will eliminate this specific amount and the obligation will now be based upon income and the number of children requiring support.

A change in the formula

The new law will also provide a revised table of child support obligations, which takes into account current economic statistics concerning the cost of raising a child. The existing schedule only goes up to $10,000 monthly combined gross income (the parents' incomes added together), with an equation to compute obligations higher than that amount, depending on the number of children. The new guidelines, however, will raise the combined income amount to $35,000 and include a new formula to address heftier incomes.

The division of reasonable and necessary medical expenses

Virginia Code Section 20-108.2 currently requires that custodial parents share any unreimbursed "reasonable and necessary" medical and dental costs that exceed $250 per child, annually. However, the new law will remove the condition that the custodial parent must pay the first $250, and will instead mandate that parents share all unreimbursed medical and dental expenses in relation to their respective incomes.

In sum, child support obligations in Virginia will change significantly, and parents should have a solid understanding of how such modifications will affect them. This will influence child support orders after July 1, 2014. In addition, the implementation of the new child support guidelines itself gives rise to a material change in circumstance permitting parties to seek a modification of their child support order entered prior to July 1, 2014.

To learn more about the upcoming changes and how they may affect your child support award, speak to a qualified family law attorney about your case. A legal professional can assist with initial support claims, as well as any modifications in support obligations.

Keywords: Child support, guidelines, law, changes