Child Support

Father helping son learn to ride a bike

Child support cases can be sensitive for the parties involved. Whether you’re pursuing a child support order or you’d like to have the amount of child support adjusted, working with an experienced attorney is crucial.

The Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC family law attorneys will advocate for you and work diligently to protect your legal rights. We have successfully represented hundreds of parents in the Northern Virginia area with a wide range of child support matters: in pursuing increased child support or unpaid child support and in defense of parents overburdened with child support obligations.

Helping Parents Navigate the Family Court System

We are more than just attorneys – we are counselors. Our attorneys take time to get to know you and understand your unique situation and goals. We’ll help you understand the complexities of the law about a parent’s obligations so you can make informed decisions. 

We understand that legal matters involving children can be emotional and draining. Our attorneys are here to help you through the complexities of the legal system and handle the unique stress of family matters. We understand how difficult this time can be and tailor our approach to help you gain the desired outcome. 

How Do Virginia Courts Calculate Child Support?

Virginia judges calculate child support according to a state statute. The state statute provides a table that identifies the joint income of the parents and the amount to be paid based on that amount. When considering income, the court will look to normal income sources, including wages, income generated by investments, and pension or retirement benefits. 

However, any money received from Supplemental Security Income or public assistance programs is not included in income to calculate child support. Once the amount of child support is calculated, the court will allocate the child support each parent is responsible for. Courts mainly consider each parent’s income and the child custody arrangement in determining how much each parent must pay. 

Calculating Child Support in Sole Custody Cases

When the child spends all of his or her time with a single parent in a sole custody arrangement, courts calculate the amount each parent must pay based on the proportionate share of each parent’s individual income to their joint income. For example, when one parent’s income accounts for 75 percent of the combined income, that parent would be responsible for 75 percent of the child support. 

Calculating Child Support in Joint Custody Cases 

In joint custody situations where each parent retains custody of the child, the child support obligation is allocated based on the time the child spends with each parent. Suppose the child spends half of the year with each parent. 

Each parent must provide 50 percent of the child’s support in that case. However, the courts may choose to utilize the sole custody calculation for joint custody arrangements. Courts are not obligated to base child support payment calculations on how much time the child spends with each parent. 

How to Modify a Child Support Order in Virginia

After a court has determined child support obligations, each parent has a right to challenge the amount of the child support payment or the allocation of that child support payment. Virginia courts will only modify a parent’s child support obligations in court when they can show a material change in circumstances has occurred. 

Importantly, parents should continue to pay the amount of child support required by court order. Even if you and your co-parent agree to modify the child support amount, you shouldn’t change the amount until you’ve attained a new court order modifying the amount. The capable child support attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC can help you gather evidence to prove that a change of circumstances has occurred. 

Examples of Material Changes in Circumstances

Courts will consider several types of extenuating circumstances, such as a child’s special education needs, medical needs, and educational needs. When a parent loses a job or is demoted through no fault of their own, they may be able to successfully petition the court to lower their child support amount through a court order. Alternatively, when one parent’s income increases, the parent paying the child support can petition the court to lower his or her child support amount.

Back Child Support

Unpaid child support that should have been paid according to the court order is referred to as “back child support.” If your co-parent owes you child support, you have the right to pursue back child support from him or her. Back child support can be pursued through legal means. First, you can file a Motion for an Income Deduction Order, which obligates the parent’s employer, who owes child support, to withhold or garnish the parent’s wages to pay for the child support. 

You can also pursue a Motion and Notice for Judgment of Arrears, a civil judgment against the Tarent who owes back child support. Courts can enforce his judgment through wage garnishments, bank levies, or property liens. Finally, a Motion to Show Cause obligates the parent owing back child support to appear in court and explain why they failed to pay the required child support. When a parent fails to appear in court, he or she may face criminal charges against the non-paying parent. Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC is prepared to help you pursue the back child support you need and deserve. 

Discuss Your Case with a Child Support Attorney in Fairfax County.

Navigating child support issues can be challenging. The attorneys at Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC offer our clients more than 100 years of collective experience in family law. We understand the unique difficulties in child support and custody matters. Our attorneys have mastered strategies and techniques to help you, our clients, in and out of the courtroom. Don’t hesitate to contact our office today to schedule a complimentary no-obligation case evaluation.