Spousal and child support are financial obligations that a party may acquire or receive as a result of a separation or child custody case. The way support is determined can change from state to state and it has to be ordered by the judge overseeing the case.
Spousal support is not guaranteed in every case and steps need to be taken to make a determination on whether a party needs to be financially supported after a divorce. During a separation, the two parties involved may come to a consensual agreement on how much support will be given and the frequency. Usually, this is something agreed upon on a property settlement agreement. Some factors that might be involved in the decision process are:
- Reason for divorce
- Expenses of both parties
- Individual income
- Duration of marriage
- The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties
- The standard of living during the marriage.
Child support is almost always guaranteed in a custody case where paternity has been established. In most cases the financially responsible party is ordered to pay the party who has custody or guardianship over the minor child. The factors that determine child support are slightly different than spousal support. Some things that go into consideration for child support are:
- Expenses of both parents
- Individual income of each parent
- The age of child
- physical and mental condition of the children
- Expenses for the child (ex. Medical, insurance, extracurricular activities, etc.)
- Time child spends with each parent
In both scenarios a judge may use an expense sheet as an aid determine the final decision in the case. Hiring a family attorney, such as FIDE Law in Virginia, that is comfortable with family law in your state may be recommended to look out for your best interest and help guide you through each step of the way.