We went to visit one of Virginia Beach’s psychic readers the other day. We knocked on her door. From somewhere inside she asked, “Who is it?” So we left. How good could she be? Anyway, even though child support calculations can seem to be the stuff of crystal ball gazing, they really are not beyond your abilities to understand. Let’s look behind the curtain.

The Spirits Legislators Say

When the Code of Virginia says even a parent with no visible means of support has to pony up child support, they mean it. The details can be found in § 20-108.2, which provides a handy-dandy “SCHEDULE OF MONTHLY BASIC CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS” (yup, it’s all in capital letters like they’re really angry with you for reading it) that begins with $0 monthly gross income and requires you to provide $68 in monthly support for one child, up to $169 for six kids. Talk about a mystical trick: you make no money and somehow cough up child support.

The angry angry SCHEDULE continues in $50 increments all the way up to $35,000 monthly gross income. (We did the math for you: that works out to $420,000 annual gross income, otherwise known as sittin’ pretty.)

At that level of monthly gross income, one kid will get $1,989 from you; six kids will tap you for $4,552. There’s a number and a child amount in between that $0 and $35,000 for just about every Virginia Dad.

What if you make more than $35,000 a month? The crystal ball Code says you take the highest schedule and add percentages of gross income per child:

  • One child: 2.6 percent
  • Two children: 3.4 percent
  • Three children: 3.8 percent
  • Four children: 4.2 percent
  • Five children: 4.6 percent
  • Six children: 5.0 percent

You probably noticed that the increases taper off as you add more children to your support schedule. This is true at every income level, not just for those sittin’ pretty. Life may not be cheaper by the dozen, but it’s definitely cheaper by the half-dozen.

Calculating Child Support Online

Was the Code of Virginia too long? You didn’t read it? Well, we have two answers for that.

  1. You can use an interactive online worksheet provided by the Virginia court system for calculating your child support. Don’t get us wrong; this is not a “What color is this dress?” kind of page. You need to know many financial details about your life to complete the worksheet, but it does come with instructions and is somewhat user friendly.
  2. Another option is to locate a Virginia family law attorney with a website that actually contains a free, online device. They could, perhaps, call it a Virginia Child Support Calculator and you could use that to get a sense of what child support will cost. Such a tool, and the law office attached to it, would both be valuable resources.

The Magic 8

You’re probably familiar with a little toy that can answer any question. It has a whopping 20 answers, from “It is Certain” to “Outlook Not So Good.” Five of the 20 answers are the kind of vague things a psychic reader might say:

  • Ask again later
  • Better not tell you now
  • Cannot predict now
  • Concentrate and ask again
  • Reply hazy, try again

But with child support, you can’t handle hazy answers. You need to know. So here are the Magic 8 factors affecting your child support payments:

  1. Each parent’s gross income from all sources
  2. Imputed income (if one parent volunteers to be unemployed or underemployed to drive down earnings)
  3. Debts of either party arising during the marriage for the benefit of the child
  4. Any children the parents have together
  5. Other child-centered costs, such as child care
  6. Custodial arrangements between the parents
  7. Monetary support for other family members or former family members
  8. Direct, court-ordered payments for maintaining life insurance coverage, education expenses, or other court-ordered direct payments for the benefit of the child

Every parent and every child support case has unique features. Suppose you are blessed to be the parent of a child with special needs. That, too, is a factor, in Virginia law, affecting child support costs: “Any special needs of a child resulting from any physical, emotional, or medical condition.”

Code of Virginia § 20-108.1 lists several other factors the judge may consider in setting child support schedules. Your best strategy is to ask a capable family law attorney for guidance in anticipating child support costs specifically for Virginia.

Got questions about child support, child custody, or divorce? Contact us today at The Firm For Men or telephone our office at (757) 383-9184 to get your questions answered. We have experienced, eager attorneys ready to defend your rights and protect your interests as a Virginia man.