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Virginia Child Support Modification

Each state has laws and guidelines for establishing child support. The amount of child support a parent is required to pay is generally based on a variety of factors, including the parents' income and the amount of time that each parent has physical custody of the child. Of course, life is not stagnant and circumstances can change, which is why states also have laws allowing for the modification of child support.

Modifying Child Support in Virginia

In Virginia, child support calculations are based on an "income shares model," which means that both parents' incomes are used to calculate support. The idea behind this model is that the child is entitled to the same amount of money as if the parents and their child lived in one household.

A child support order can be changed for a variety of reasons (which are discussed in the chart below), including whether either parent's income has changed by 25 percent. It's important to note that child support orders can't be modified retroactively, but can be modified with respect to the period when there's a pending petition for modification.

Overview of Virginia Child Support Modification

While statutes are a good source of information when you have a question about the law, they're rarely written in a clear and straightforward manner. That's why it can be helpful to also read a simplified overview of the law. The chart below provides an overview of child support modification in Virginia and links to relevant statutes.


Virginia Code, Title 20, Chapter 6:

When a Court Can Modify a Child Support Decree

The court is authorized by law to modify a child support decree in the following circumstances:

  • On petition by either parent;
  • On its own motion; or
  • Upon a petition of a probation officer of the Department of Social Services.
What Reasons May Warrant Child Support Modification?

A child support order may be modified for the following reasons:

  • It has been at least 36 months since the order was reviewed for modification;
  • A child needs to be added to the order (because of a physical change of custody or a birth);
  • The order needs to consider health care coverage costs;
  • A child is no longer eligible to receive support (because of emancipation or a physical change in custody);
  • Health care coverage premiums changed by 25% or more;
  • The existing order doesn't' include the reimbursed dental/medical provision;
  • The custodial parent's work-related child care expenses changed by 25% or more; or
  • Either parent's income changed by 25% or more.
How to Request Child Support Modification

Requests must be in writing* and signed by the requesting party. The form, or the informal signed request and a brief explanation of the change in circumstance, should be sent to the district office that manages the child support case.

*Requests can be submitted on the Request for Review and Adjustment form or can be in the form of an informal writing.

Related Statute(s)

Virginia Code, Title 20, Chapter 6:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Virginia Child Support Modification: Related Resources

For more information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.

Get Legal Help with Child Support Modification in Virginia

If you want to learn more about modifying your child support, it's best to speak with an experienced child support attorney who will be knowledgeable in Virginia's child support laws and how they apply to your particular situation.

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