In nearly every child support case, it is the custodial parent who is looking for some support. Custodial means that the child is with them all or most of the time. Before a support order can be put in place, paternity must be established. There are a few ways this can be done:
- The father can voluntarily sign a form acknowledging that he is the father.
- If the man denies being the father, you can get a genetic test done.
- If the man refuses to do the genetic test, you can go before a judge and they can require that the test be performed.
- If you were married when the baby was born, your ex-husband is automatically considered to be the father.
Requesting Child Support
Once paternity is legally established, you can move forward with requesting child support. In addition to a monthly obligation, the non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay for the child's health insurance.
Virginia uses the Child Support Guidelines approved by the Virginia General Assembly to determine the appropriate monthly amount of child support. Since each case is different, your individual circumstances are what ultimately determine the amount of child support. However, there are a few main things that the court will look at:
- The gross income of each parent
- The child's health care premiums
- Whether either parent is legally responsible for another child or children
- Work-related childcare expenses
The biggest determining factor is normally how much each parent makes. Consult Virginia's Child Support Guidelines to see a chart that shows generally how much a parent will pay based on their gross income. However, you must remember that those other factors play a part in the amount as well and it's impossible to say exactly how much is owed without a legal ruling.