Virginia law contains no mandatory formulas for determining spousal support. Courts must look at several factors to determine an appropriate level and duration of support payments (if they are warranted), including:
Child support, on the other hand, is determined by a legislated formula, which is a function of both parents’ gross incomes, the cost of any work-related child care, the cost of carrying the child or children on one or the other parent’s health insurance, and any uncovered medical expenses. Judges are permitted to deviate from the guideline formula to allow for special needs or circumstances. Most commonly, however, it is likely the payment will be the amount determined by the formula.
The supporting parent is required to make payments until the child graduates from high school or turns 19 years old, whichever comes first. For situations where a permanent disability is involved, support payments may continue beyond age 19.
It is important to remember that support payments are intended to benefit your child. You should never withhold child support from the other parent out of spite. You risk jail if you do. Your child is the one who has a right to be supported and maintained by these payments.