Changes to Virginia’s Child Support Laws
It’s been almost twenty years since the Commonwealth changed its child support guidelines. As of July 1, 2014, the Virginia General Assembly has decided to make some significant changes to Virginia's existing child support laws. These changes to the support guidelines will impact new child support awards and may impact previous awards. The Child Support Guidelines Review Panel recommended House Bill 933 in light of rising costs of living and economic changes that affect many Virginians, especially Northern Virginians. The Bill was signed into law and changed existing 1950 Virginia Code Section 108.2. Virginia family lawyers should be fully aware of the impact these changes may have.
Child Support Laws in Virginia
There are two big changes that affect the existing support guidelines. Changes to Virginia’s child support laws may affect you receive child support or are paying child support or if you’re paying or receiving contributions for unreimbursed medical expenses. The statutory changes raise the previous monthly income caps to $35,000, instead of the outdated ceiling of $10,000, which previously used incremental percentage increases. Now, the guideline amounts raise the monthly support obligations quite a bit for most parents paying or receiving support, divorced or separated.
Child Support Guidelines Changes
Although the changes to Virginia’s child support laws do not drastically affect many divorced or separated households with combined monthly incomes of about $10,000, there are more significant increases for households that exceed the $10,000 mark, for each child. This means that if you have two children for which you’re paying child support, and your combined income was about $25,000 monthly, you might have been paying about $2,200, but now, you may be required to pay $400 more each month.
Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
Before the child support laws in Virginia changed in 2014, medical expenseswere reimbursable only after hitting $250 per child annually. The $250 annual floor meant that custodial parents had first to spend $250 for unreimbursed medical expenses before they could expect noncustodial parents to contribute. The changes to Virginia’s child support laws extinguish the requirement that you first have to spend $250 annually before the other parent has to contribute.
Material Change in Circumstances May be the Legislative Changes Alone and Child Support Modification
To modify your child support award up or down (you want to receive more or pay less), you had to wait for a material change in circumstances. This required you to petition the court for a modification once you’re circumstances materially changed in order for courts to avoid their dockets from being flooded by parents who wanted to dispute their child support awards – just because. Whether it meant that you lost your job, had additional children you were supporting, or you made more money, you had to wait for a material change in circumstances. Now, because of the significant increases in support guidelines, you may be able to request a child support modification based on the legislative changes alone. In other words, your material change in circumstances may be the legislative changes alone, and you may not have to wait for an independent material change of circumstances. Parents with physical custody may be able to ask for adjustments more easily.
Virginia family lawyers can help you determine whether or not these legislative changes may be enough to help you seek a child support modification.
Fairfax Family Law Lawyer; Virginia Divorce Lawyer: If you’re looking for an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer or Fairfax family law attorney, contact Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office.
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