Changes to Virginia Child Support Guidelines May Affect Existing Obligations

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 18, 2014 – Virginia child support laws are undergoing their first significant changes in nearly 20 years.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Virginia Child Support Guidelines have been revised to account differently for higher levels of combined gross income between two parents. This change alone may allow some support recipients and payors to revisit child support judgments, even in the absence of other changes to their financial circumstances.

A local divorce attorney explained the ways that the new guidelines differ from the old and the ramifications of the change.

“Prior to these revisions,” said attorney Lisa McDevitt, “the Virginia Child Support Guidelines named specific baseline child support figures for combined gross income up to $10,000 per month. Beyond that, figures were adjusted simply by adding a percentage of the gross income. Now, the guidelines account directly for combined income up to $35,000 per month. The result is that many higher-income support payors will pay significantly more than they would have under the old guidelines.”

McDevitt explained that this change to state law may affect both future cases and existing child support obligations.

“Under ordinary circumstances, a party seeking to modify an existing obligation needs to prove that his or her financial circumstances have changed substantially. This is important – it keeps courts from being flooded with baseless requests for modifications. However, Virginia case law suggests that a change in child support guidelines may itself be enough to warrant a modification if the applicable changes are significant.”

McDevitt encouraged all Virginians who are concerned about the change and its possible effects on past and future child support obligations to speak with their family law attorneys.

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