To some extent, determining child support in a high-asset case works the same as it would in another case. Virginia has a set of Child Support Guidelines, whose formula the courts in this state will use to determine how much financial support each parent should contribute to the support of their children. The formula is based largely on each parent’s income.
However, applying this formula in a high-asset divorce case can be complicated just because of the unique financial circumstances of wealthier couples. For one, wealthier Virginia couples frequently receive income from a number of sources besides paychecks from their jobs. Many have investments in real estate, accounts or other types of property that generate income.
This income is often not regular but can be significant, such as the case when someone sells a home that has appreciated in value. Moreover, many high-asset couples get their income from business investments. Not only is this type of income a bit harder to determine but also Virginia’s Guidelines allow courts to evaluate which business expenses they will credit against that income.
In other words, what income counts for child support purposes is not as simple of a matter as just looking at one’s tax returns. The court will decide the right calculation of revenue and business expenses.
In many high-asset cases, a court may be willing to deviate from the guidelines
Like other states, Virginia’s guidelines also give this state’s courts the opportunity to adjust the guidelines in order to tailor them to a family’s circumstances. Many wealthier couples may be able to argue that they should pay more, or less, child support based on one of the legal reasons Virginia courts may choose to deviate from the guidelines.
To give just one example, a parent may wish to argue that their child support is too little, or more than enough, for their children to maintain their standard of living before the divorce. The point is that wealthier couples in Alexandria and the surrounding Northern Virginia communities should not assume that child support is cut and dried. They may have the ability to argue for their interests.