DO I REALLY NEED A CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEY?
More than $600,000 in child support is collected in Virginia each year, benefiting 14% of children in the state. No matter their relationship with one another, parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children financially. Child support benefits the health, safety, education, and care of Virginia’s kids.
As a vital part of your child’s well-being, an effective child support arrangement should never be left to chance. There are ‘do it yourself’ approaches to family law that may seem attractive at first glance, but too much is riding on the outcome of your case to take that route.
Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law has helped parents navigate Virginia’s child support process for over two decades in Lynchburg, Blackstone, and the surrounding Virginia counties of Amherst, Campbell, Bedford, Nottoway, Prince Edward, and Charlotte. Don’t settle for anything less than authentic legal guidance when it comes to your children.
How a Child Support Lawyer Can Help
It can be tempting to try to face your child support issues alone, or even hire a general legal practitioner to review and draft documents for you. This isn’t your best choice. Consider the practical benefits of reaching out to a family law attorney — specifically, a child support attorney. Here are a number of ways this kind of lawyer can help you and your family:
Understanding What You Actually Owe
In Virginia, the basic sum a child should receive for support is calculated using a specific formula. The formula uses two factors: the parents’ combined monthly gross income, and the number of children they share. Although this basic sum a child should receive is calculated in this way, there are multiple factors that may be considered in calculating the specific amount you will actually owe. A dedicated child support attorney can help you understand these factors, including:
The child custody arrangement itself
Child support each parent is either paying or receiving from children shared with other parents
Other payments made for the child, such as for life insurance or education expenses
Capital gains made by the sale of a home or other marital assets
Care for children with disabilities or health issues paid by each parent
Tax consequences for each parent
The child’s standard of living during the marriage
Once the combined income is tallied and the basic sum of support is calculated, the percentage of each parent’s contribution is determined. However, to make matters even more complicated, each parent does not necessarily have to write a check for their share and give it to the other parent. The actual exchange of cash depends on the child custody arrangement. If one parent has physical custody most of the time, their share will likely be assumed to have been paid by the expenses of day-to-day custody. Don’t rely on mere common sense to understand your financial responsibilities in a child support case. Reach out to an attorney instead.
Modifying an Existing Child Support Order
If either parent experiences a “material change” of circumstances, they can ask the court — with the assistance of an attorney — to modify the existing child support order. Material changes can include such things as a significant increase or decrease in income, loss of health insurance, or child support owed for additional children with another parent.
Terminating Child Support
In general, child support obligations automatically terminate when the child reaches 18 years of age — or 19 if they are still in high school. There are exceptions to the age requirement, however, such as a child’s developmental disability or physical handicap. A child support lawyer can help you navigate these exceptions and other legal details.
Child support in Virginia can be complicated and contentious. For example, the Virginia child support formula provides only a very basic idea of what you may owe or receive. There are numerous other circumstances, unique to every case, which then figure into the final calculation. With so many moving parts to the child support process, and with so much at stake at every stage, things can get highly emotional.
That is why it’s so important to reach out to a family law attorney who can help you remain calm and focused on your long-term goals. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when it comes to those who matter most to us; the experience of an attorney can help you stay grounded. You do really need a child support attorney to guide you and your family forward.
Knowledgeable Counsel When You Need It
Child support is complex, but a lawyer can take some of the weight off of your shoulders. E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law has been helping parents for decades in initial child support arrangements, modifying existing ones, and more. Gordon has offices in Lynchburg and Blackstone, Virginia to better serve clients throughout Amherst, Campbell, Bedford, Nottoway, Prince Edward, and Charlotte counties. Set up a consultation today.