New Child Support Guidelines
New Child Support Guidelines have taken effect and could make a big difference to clients.
As the Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly from the 57th House District and a family law attorney, I was pleased to support the passage of the new Child Support Guidelines that took effect July 1, 2014. There have been several attempts to change the Guidelines since I entered the House of Delegates in 2006, but this is the first time since 1995 that any substantial change has actually passed. The new law made two key changes:
1. There is a new guidelines formula, which now can consider total combined monthly gross incomes of up to $35,000 per month, rather than the prior ceiling of $10,000 per month.
2. Under previous law, the first $250 of the child’s unreimbursed medical expenses was to be paid by the custodial parent before any proportional allocation occurred. That is now changed to allow proportional allocation from the first dollar spent.
These two provisions could have significant impacts on clients. For individuals whose income exceeds $14,000 per month, the formula could raise child support from between $200—$400 per month even without changes in health insurance costs or work-related child care expenses. The second change will likely alter the allocation of the child’s unreimbursed medical expenses in proportion to income shares. Most observers believe that the changes will provide greater child support and are reflective of the impact of inflation on financial needs. Parents can still agree to deviate from the amount set forth in the guidelines formula. In Collaborative Law cases, deviations are more likely to occur in order to reflect the special circumstances of a case.
Parents who seek changes in child support will still need to show a material or substantial change in their economic circumstances before support is altered by a court. With these new statutory changes, however, a parent could conceivably petition the court for a change in child support simply because new guidelines are in effect.
Our firm, Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz advises clients to consult with counsel to see whether this change in the law might have potential impact upon them. We can advise about whether a person may want to approach the other parent with a proposal for a change in support in a collaborative fashion or, in the alternative, seek the intervention of the court. Our firm remains available to consult on these and other critical family law issues.
David Toscano practices in the areas of family law, collaborative law, estate planning and real estate. David represents the 57th District (Charlottesville-Albemarle) and is the Democratic Leader in the Virginia House Delegates.