Child Support Process in Fredericksburg
Child support is a common issue divorcing or unwed parents in Fredericksburg have to deal with. If you’re soon to be divorced, before your divorce will be finalized, you and your child’s other parent must reach an agreement on who’ll have custody of the children and which parent will make child support payments.
Typically, child support is not optional for either parent because Virginia law states that a parent has a legal duty to help support their children. This means any parents who are interested in going through with a divorce should understand the child support process and should consult a Fredericksburg lawyer for child support help.
Beginning the Child Support Process
Of course, in order for child support to be necessary, the parents first must separate and file for divorce (if the parents are married). For separated unmarried couples, either parent can file a petition for child support in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in the county where the child lives.
For married couples who split, the child support process is started by either spouse filing a complaint for divorce in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office where they last lived together and where the child lives. If a child support petition is filed in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, the person filing is called the Petitioner and the person on the other side is called the Respondent.
Whether married or unmarried, the non-filing parent or spouse accepts the legal papers (called service of process) or they must serve their spouse with a summons and the complaint or petition. Then the child support process begins until it goes to the judge for a final hearing if they parties can’t agree on a child support payment amount.
Making a Motion for Temporary Child Support
In a divorce case, a parent filing for child support can ask the court to give them temporary child support for the kids. This is done by filing a motion for pendente lite (a Latin phrase meaning “pending the outcome of the litigation”) child support. If they’re successful, a Virginia Circuit Court can sign a temporary child support order that stays in place until the divorce case ends and a final child support amount is set.
Permanent Child Support and How it is Calculated
Whether or not temporary child support is awarded, it’s best for parents to come to a final agreement on a child support amount for their kids. And if they can’t, a judge will decide for them based on child support guidelines laid out in Virginia law.
In making a decision about child support, a judge will look at factors that apply to both the children and the parents. The judge will specifically look at which parent has custody of the child or children and the income of both parents to determine the monthly child support payment. if the parent has to pay child support for children from previous marriages or relationships this is also considered in determining an amount. Also, the court will look at how much time each parent spends overnights with the kids.
Although the child support guidelines are to be used when determining child support, a judge is allowed to deviate from this if they find a good reason to do so. And in some cases, one parent may not be working either through a job loss through no fault of their own or by quitting their job to avoid paying. Here, the judge may decide to impute income to a parent; in other words, the judge will assign a dollar amount based on what the parent earned before they left work. From there, the judge will decide on an appropriate amount of child support for a parent to pay.
We Can Help You Reach a Child Support Agreement
In certain circumstances, spouses may be able to decide upon child support amicably and have it approved in a court hearing. In others, however, it may be left up to the judge to make a final ruling.
Regardless of the situation, if you have questions about child support in Bellevue, contact a Fredericksburg lawyer for child support at the the Bramble Law Firm. We can provide you with all the information you need and help you reach a fair child support agreement or other alternatives to paying child support.