April 1, 2012

Child Support

There are millions of divorced parents who pay or receive child support. Federal legislation and uniform state laws exist to make enforcement and collection of child support easier for America’s single parents. Because every state uses its own guidelines for establishing child support and each has various methods to set support amounts and recover support when it is overdue, it is often important to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the child support guidelines and child support enforcement laws in your state. West Virginia uses the incomes shares formula to calculate child support. This formula looks at the total income that would be available to support the child if the parties incomes were pooled. The formula then considers what percentage of the pooled amount belongs to each parent. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the Court will adopt the formula result, If you have questions about the child support,or the process to establish paternity, contact a family law attorney at The Law Offices of G. Wayne Van Bibber & Associates, PLLC in Hurricane, West Virginia, to schedule a consultation.

Child Support Basics

In general, parents owe their children a legal duty of financial support until the child reaches the age of majority (usually 18 or 21 years old) or becomes self-supporting. When only one parent has primary custody of the child, the other parent’s obligation for financial support is usually fulfilled through the payment of child support. Child support is owed whether the child lives with his or her other parent or a third party and whether or not the person with whom the child lives can afford to support the child on his or her own.

How is Child Support Determined?

West Virginia uses the Income Shares Model to calculate child support obligations. The guidelines are structured so that child support will be related to the standard of living that children would enjoy if they were living in a household with both parents present. The state child support guidelines take into consideration the financial contributions of both parents.

A child support order is determined by dividing the total child support obligation between the parents in proportion to their income. The monthly Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of both parents is used to determine the amount of child support to be ordered.

When determining the total child support obligation, the court shall add any unreimbursed child health care expenses, work-related child care expenses and other extraordinary expenses agreed to by the parents or ordered by the court to the basic child support obligation, and then subtract any extraordinary credits agreed to by the parents or ordered by the court.

Child support payments may continue past the date the child reaches the age of 18, provided the child is unmarried and residing with a parent, guardian or custodian and is enrolled as a full-time student in high school and making substantial progress towards a diploma, and the child has not reached the age of 20. In other words, when a child has reached 18 and graduated from high school, child support stops. West Virginia parents are not required to contribute to their children’s college education.

Physically or mentally disabled children may be entitled to receive child support beyond the age of 18. In every action to establish child support, the court shall ascertain the ability of each parent to provide medical care for the children of the parties.

For more details, please download our free resource: “Pocket Guide to Divorce in West Virginia” by G. Wayne Van Bibber.



A family law attorney at The Law Offices of G. Wayne Van Bibber & Associates, PLLC in Hurricane, West Virginia, can help you to obtain a child support order, enforce a child support order, or request a child support order modification. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

We serve clients in Charleston, Huntington, Winfield, Teays Valley, Scott Depot, Hurricane, Nitro and other local areas.

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