In the state of Virginia, there are very specific guidelines used to determine child support. Parents who want to estimate either how much child support they owe or how much they will receive need to use one of the state's child support worksheets. Virginia no longer offers an online child support calculator
Using the Virginia Child Support Worksheet
The state of Virginia uses a specific worksheet to calculate the financial responsibility of each parent.
The forms can be found on the Virginia Judicial System's website, specifically on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Forms page.
Keep in mind that there are actually three forms available. Which you will use depends on your specific circumstances. There is a standard Child Support Guidelines Worksheet (Form DC-637), which should be used if one parent is the custodian of the children. Separate forms are available for split custody (Form DC-638) and shared custody (Form DC-640).
The intent of each worksheet is to determine the percentage of income provided by each parent. That is then used to determine how much financial support each person is responsible for. While the worksheets are only one page, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and include all relevant information.
- Be sure to account for each parent's total monthly income, including wages, tips, bonuses, self-employment earnings, investment income, and all other sources of income. You should have documentation available to back up any claims when it's requested.
- You will also need to know about certain expenses for each parent, including income-related child care expenses and health insurance premiums.
- Any third-party child support calculators, which may be available online, are not to be relied on. They may not provide users with a reliable, accurate child support estimate.
- Be aware that the Virginia child support worksheet is designed to provide the court details about income and expenses. The actual amount due for child support may vary once the court reaches its final decision.
Tips for Child Support in Virginia
If you have not done so, you will need to file for child support in Virginia. An application is available to print at the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) page on the Virginia Department of Social Services website. You can also go to your local Child Support District Office.
The DCSE website also has other important information you may need while collecting or paying child support. Parents can create an account to view case information and payments can be made directly through the system. It also offers many frequently asked questions that may answer some of yours.
- When filing for child support, provide as much detailed, accurate information as you can.
- Parents receiving child support in Virginia can choose to receive payments electronically through a direct deposit to their bank account.
- Parents ordered to pay child support are responsible for making those payments. If it's being deducted from your wages, make sure the deduction is being taken out of your paychecks. Should you find that it's not, you'll need to rectify the situation and will still need to pay any amount that was missed.
- If you have difficulty paying child support, consider requesting a child support modification. Cases are reviewed every few years, but if a parent's income or expenses change more than 25 percent, a review can be requested.
Seek Help With Child Support
Setting up and receiving or paying child support can be complicated. You might want to seek the help of a family law attorney, particularly when trying to navigate the initial set up of child support.
You can also call Virginia's Child Support Call Center (the phone number is available on the DCSE website) or a district office with any questions you may have. Many courts offer free mediation to families as well. If you cannot afford an attorney, inquire about mediators because they can make this process a little easier.