How Often Can Child Support Be Modified in Virginia?
Parents who are divorced or separated often have court-enforced child support agreements. In general, the parent with whom the child spends most of their time receives financial support from the other parent. However, one or both parents may experience shifts in their financial circumstances. In such cases, a parent might wonder if it is possible to modify their child support agreement to bring it in line with the changes.
Understanding how child support is calculated can help parents recognize the types of changes that might prompt a child support modification.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Virginia?
Virginia law stipulates that the amount of child support a parent should pay is calculated based on the “Income Shares Model.” This model evaluates each case based on the following factors:
- The income of the parents
- Whether the parents share joint custody of the child or one parent has sole custody
- The level of care and financial support the child would have received if the parents had remained together
When Can Child Support Be Modified?
Virginia law allows either parent to request that a child support order be modified. In order for that request to be granted, however, the requesting parent must demonstrate that circumstances have changed considerably since the original order was issued.
The Virginia Code stipulates that a child support order can be modified under the following circumstances:
- The parent paying child support has lost their job
- The parent paying child support has been demoted or changed jobs and their pay has decreased by 25 percent or more
- Either parent gets a high-paying job or receives a significant raise
- Either parent inherits a significant amount of money
- The cost of childcare increases by 25 percent or more
- The child develops a disability or suffers from a health problem that requires additional care
- The original child support order does not have provisions for the child’s healthcare and dental care costs
- The child’s healthcare or dental insurance premiums increase by 25 percent or more
- The child becomes emancipated, reaches the age of 18, or graduates from high school and no longer requires financial assistance from their parents
The court may grant a modification of child support under any of the above circumstances, provided that the change does not have a negative effect on the level care that the parents can give the child.
Can I Modify Child Support by Verbal Agreement?
Some parents who pay child support believe that agreeing to a new amount with their ex-partner is a viable way to make a modification. However, this should be avoided. Even if you agree provisionally with your ex that you will pay $300 less per month until you find a new job, they will still have the right to take you to court for the full amount if they change their mind. Any modification should be done through the courts.
Contact a Virginia Beach Family Law Attorney
If you are considering making a legal request to modify your child support order, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney. The knowledgeable and skilled lawyer at Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. can guide you through the process and to protect your rights as a parent. Call us today at (757) 962-5588 or contact us online for a confidential case evaluation.