Child Support & Shared Custody in Virginia

When two parents separate from each other, it is customary for one parent to file for child support. There is a common misconception that, in the event that the parents equally share custody, neither parent will have to pay child support. In Virginia, that is not always the case.

Child support in Virginia is determined using a formula outlined in Virginia Code § 20-108.2. The appropriate formula is dependent on the custodial arrangement that the parents utilize for the minor child or children. The determining factor in which formula should be used is how many days each parent has the child. The definition of a “day” for child support purposes is provided in Virginia Code § 20-108.2(G)(3)(c). If each parent has the children more than 90 days per year, then the determination of child support will be dependent on the number of nights each parent has. Conversely, in a “sole” custody situation in which one parent has the children less than 90 nights per year, the specific number of nights that the non-custodial parent has the child does not impact the support calculation.

In either “sole” or “shared” custody situations, the Court will look at the gross incomes of each parent to run the child support guidelines. In the event that both parents have similar incomes and have equal parenting time with the children, the guidelines may result in a very low amount of child support—or even no child support at all. However, there is no rule in Virginia that equally sharing custody of the children automatically means that neither parent owes child support to the other.

A child support determination is not always a straightforward process. If you have questions about child support and need assistance from someone with intimate knowledge Virginia family law, please do not hesitate to contact our firm at 804-423-1382 or to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced Virginia attorneys.