Child support is the financial obligation that parents have to provide for their children after a divorce or separation. Child support laws vary by state, and there are some significant differences between Virginia and Washington, D.C. Here are some of the main aspects that you should know if you are dealing with child support in either jurisdiction.
Child support guidelines
Both Virginia and Washington, D.C., use income-based formulas to calculate child support amounts. However, they use different methods to determine the parents’ incomes and expenses. Virginia uses a gross income approach, which means that it considers the parents’ income before taxes and deductions.
Washington, D.C., uses a net income approach, which means that it considers the parents’ income after taxes and deductions. Additionally, Virginia uses a shared custody formula for cases where the child spends at least 90 days per year with each parent, while Washington, D.C., uses a proportional formula where the child spends at least 35% of the time with each parent.
Child support duration
In Virginia, at age 18, your child support obligation ends, unless your child is still in high school. Child support can be extended until the child turns 19, if the child is still in high school and lives with the custodial parent.
In Washington, D.C., child support generally ends when the child turns 21 or becomes emancipated, whichever occurs first. However, child support can be terminated earlier if the child marries, joins the military or becomes self-supporting.
Child support modification
Both Virginia and Washington, D.C., allow parents to request a modification of child support orders if there is a material change in circumstances that affects the child’s needs or the parents’ ability to pay. However, they have different standards for what constitutes a material change.
In Virginia, a material change can be a change in income, expenses, custody arrangements or other factors that affect the child’s welfare. In Washington, D.C., a material change can be a change in income of at least 15% for either parent or a change in custody arrangements that affects parenting time.
Child support enforcement
Both Virginia and Washington, D.C., enforce child support orders and collect overdue payments. Some of these methods include wage garnishment, tax intercepts, license suspensions, liens on property, contempt of court orders and criminal prosecution. However, they have different procedures and penalties for non-compliance.