Here are the step-by-step instructions you need to know to modify your child support amount post-divorce in Virginia.
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If you are already divorced, and you think it is time for a modification to your child support amount, help is on the way! Below are the steps you need to take for Virginia residents.
How to Modify a Post-Divorce Child Support Order:
- Do your best to settle out of court. Talk with your child’s other parent or have your attorneys work on a settlement.
- Change in circumstances? If there has been a material change in circumstances (which is Virginia’s way of saying “a pretty big change in one or both of your financial circumstances”) you need to be prepared for the child support amount to change. That is how it works. But, you are better off changing it on your own than having a judge do it. You have more control that way.
- Gather fresh variables and run a child support calculation. This will let you know whether it is worth it to even go through discussions with your child’s other parent and, worst case, go through a court battle.
- Fresh variables include:
- the gross incomes of both parents,
- the spousal support amount (if there is any),
- the cost for the child’s health insurance,
- the number of children (if that has changed),
- the number of days that the non-primary parent cares for the children (if that has changed, you will also need to consider modifying your custody order) or factor for 50/50 custody; and
- the cost for work-related childcare (if you originally included that in your child support calculation).
- Other parent will not share information? If you have trouble getting any of this information from your child’s other parent, hire a lawyer. You cannot run a child support calculation if the other parent refuses to provide basic information.
- If you agree on the new child support number your attorney will prepare and file (with the court) a Consent Order. If you reach Agreement in mediation, you will still need to have a Consent Order prepared and filed with the Court to change your original order (which was part of your Final Order of Divorce, aka Divorce Decree). The judge will then sign that Consent Order, and your child support amount will be officially changed.
- If you cannot reach agreement on the variables on the new child support amount, you will either need to mediate or litigate this issue. If you cannot agree on a new child support amount, you will end up in a hearing in Court where the judge will enter an order either leaving the child support as it is or modifying the current order.
To learn more about how mediation works: https://www.grainemediation.com/what-is-mediation/why-mediation-works/