Jonathan B. Vivona, PLC
Attorney at Law

601 King Street, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
(Entrance on St. Asaph St.)
[email protected]

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703-739-1353

CHILD SUPPORT AND CUSTODY

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Child Support
 
The law in Virginia requires both parents to provide financial support to their minor child. The custodial parent provides this support directly by caring for the child on a day to day basis.  The non-custodial must make child support payments to contribute to the costs of raising the child.
 
Virginia law applies much more standardized guidelines for child support than it does for spousal support.  Child support is based primarily on the gross income of the parents, taking into account costs of child care, health care coverage and any other expenses for that particular child.  The amount calculated based on the child support guidelines is presumed to be correct, but the court may deviate from these guidelines in certain circumstances based on the factors contained in Virginia Code § 20-108.1.
 
Like spousal support, child support can be modified after the divorce is finalized by motion of either party if there is a significant life change like the loss of a job or an increase/decrease in salary.

Custody
 
Custody is often the most divisive issue in divorce cases. Custody refers to the care, control, and maintenance of a child and has two components: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing while physical custody refers to the child's place of residence. 
 
Types of Custody
 
A court can award custody one of several ways and will make adjustments as necessary to do what is in the best interest of the child. 
 
  • Joint legal custody is when both parents retain responsibility for the care of the child and authority to make decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, but the child's primary residence is with only one parent.
  • Joint physical custody is where parents share responsibility for care of the child and the child resides with both parents.
  • Sole custody gives one parent primary responsibility for the care of the child.  This means that one parent will make all the daily decisions concerning the child's upbringing.
 
Custody Determination
 
The Court reaches its decision of who will get custody based on what is “in the best interest of the child.”  This legal standard is applied in all custody and visitation matters. Custody will be awarded to the parent who is most capable of taking care of the child.   The court will consider several factors, including the age of the parent and child, the physical and mental condition of each parent and child, the relationship existing between each parent and each child, the needs of the child, the role played by each parent in the upbringing and caring for the child, the home where the child will live and the child's wishes if the child is capable of making such a decision.
 
Visitation
 
A parent who does not have primary physical custody of a child is legally entitled to visitation unless this is not in the best interest of the child.  The court has a strong desire to ensure that the non-custodial parent remains a strong presence in the child’s life.  If the parents cannot agree on visitation rights, the court will set a schedule to which the parties must adhere.
 
  Jonathan B. Vivona, PLC
  Attorney at Law

601 King Street, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
 

Tel: 703-739-1353
Email: [email protected]
 

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