Natural parents have a legal duty to support their children, who need both financial and family support to grow and thrive.

Under Virginia and Maryland law, statutory child support guidelines have been introduced to bring uniformity to child support disputes.

Child support payment obligations in Virginia are set according to a formula which considers each parent’s gross income for the purpose of determining child support liability. Gross income is subject to deduction of reasonable business expenses for persons with income from self-employment, a partnership, or a closely held business. Courts may also consider certain additional factors and deviate from the Virginia child support guidelines if appropriate. However, in the majority of cases, child support calculators give accurate estimates.

Maryland also uses a formula for calculating child support based on a proportion of each parent’s gross income. Maryland child support guidelines are applied unless a party can show that application of the guidelines would be unjust and inappropriate in a particular case.

Child Support Enforcement

After child support is established, a court order goes into effect for the purposes of enforcement. Failing to fulfill the terms of child support is considered contempt of court, and can result in fines or jail time. Any modifications must be made through the courts and cannot be determined solely by either of the parties or by agreement of the parties without court approval.