The laws governing child support in West Virginia are different from that of other states. WV child support law sets how much the child maintenance should be, and the duration of such payments, plus it seeks to guide parents in exceptional cases such as deviation, support for disabled children, and retroactive support.
As you may already know, child support (or child maintenance) is a continuous monetary payment made by a spouse to another spouse, guardian, caregiver, or the state for the upkeep of children after a divorce or separation.
The person who is required to pay child support is referred to as the “obligor,” whereas the person who is eligible to receive child maintenance is referred to as the “obligee.”
What is WV Child Support Laws?
In West Virginia, the obligee is typically always the person who has primary custody of the child, which means the person who lives with the child, pays the majority of the living expenses, and has primary custody of the child.
The obligor is typically always the spouse who doesn’t have primary custody of the children and may or may not have custody or access to them.
What does Child Support Cover in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, child support typically covers the basic needs of the child, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Additionally, child support may also cover other expenses such as:
- Education costs, including tuition and school supplies
- Childcare expenses
- Medical and dental expenses, including insurance
- Extraordinary expenses, such as extracurricular activities or school trips
Child Support When One Parent Lives Outside West Virginia
To enforce child support orders beyond state boundaries, each state has to have the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) in place. West Virginia is no exception.
The UIFSA ensures that child support processes and procedures are consistent across states. When one spouse lives in another state where the West Virginia courts do not have the authority to adjudicate or enforce orders, UIFSA reduces these bottlenecks.
As a result of the UIFSA, a WV child support attorney can take legal action against a spouse who now lives in another state to enforce a child support order.
How is Child Maintenance Calculated In West Virginia?
In West Virginia, child support calculations are based on the income of both parents and the number of children involved. The West Virginia Child Support Guidelines use a formula to determine the amount of child support that should be paid. The formula takes into account:
- The gross income of both parents
- The number of children
- Child care expenses
- Health insurance costs
- Any other court-ordered support payments
The court will use this formula to calculate the basic child support obligation, which can then be adjusted based on any special circumstances or needs of the child.
West Virginia Child Support Calculator or Worksheet
While a child support calculator can be used to estimate child support, it is not a guarantee of the final amount of child maintenance that the judge will order. A child support worksheet is a form used by the WV courts (or negotiating spouses) to approximate the basic child support obligation of the parents.
Regardless of which approach you use, spouses can decide on a child support sum and amend the worksheet accordingly to ensure it accurately reflects their agreement. Both establish a presumption duty to pay child support.
The final decision on the amount of child support is made by the administrative law judge, administrator, or court.
How West Virginia Guidelines are Applied
The WV court will use child support guidelines, which are law-based and are sometimes known simply as “Guidelines. Guidelines establish a fundamental minimum amount of child maintenance, from which the court can differ after considering a variety of considerations.
The criteria are believed to be rational, and a decision of support that conforms to the guidelines is believed to be in the best interest of the child,” according to the guidelines.
The West Virginia Guidelines are based on Net Monthly Income. The court also will employ one of two methods after determining Net Monthly Income:
1. The first method applies if an obligor’s net monthly income is less than $7,500.00. The judge will consider the number of children in the household who are the subject of the petition in this case (note that a different calculation applies if an obligor has children in two different households).
2. The second method applies if an obligor’s net monthly income is more than $7,500.00.
Gross Income Included in Calculating Child Maintenance
For child support calculation purposes, gross income includes:
- all wages and salary, including commissions, military pay, tips, overtime, and bonuses
- self-employment income
- interest and dividends
- net rental income from property the parent owns
Even jobless parents are likely to have some sources of income, like:
- severance pay
- unemployment benefits
- retirement benefits
- veterans’ benefits
- disability benefits, or
- workers’ compensation awards.
A WV family court judge may also allocate an income value to parents who do not currently have income-earning employment (like a second house). If a jobless parent inherits assets that can be sold, for instance, the judge may include the property’s market value as a part of such parent’s income.
Where parents willfully go unemployed or underemployed in order to avoid paying child support, judges may infer (assign) income based on what they are supposed to be earning.
Net Income for WV Guidelines
Remove the following costs from the total gross income to get the parent’s net income for paying child support in West Virginia:
- Social Security taxes, or any mandated retirement plan contributions if the parent does not pay those taxes.
- Income taxes, both federal and state (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one exemption)
- union dues
- The WV court has ruled the parent to pay the child’s health and dental insurance premiums, as well as additional medical bills.
Parents who have already paid child support for another kid or children (from a previous relationship) may be eligible for a refund.
Is Medical Health Insurance Part of Child Support in West Virginia?
Yes, in addition to the amount of support determined by the guidelines in West Virginia, the parents will be responsible for the child’s health and dental insurance.
Whereas the noncustodial parent is presumed to provide coverage, this can readily be transferred to the other parent if it makes good sense.
For instance, suppose the custodial parent’s employer offers healthcare insurance for the dependent but the noncustodial parent does not.
Factors West Virginia Courts Consider Before Ordering Maintenance
The following factors must be considered by the court when determining whether West Virginia Family Code applies:
- The age of the child and needs; the parents’ ability to assist
- Financial resources available to the child
- For a set period of time, you have custody and access to a child.
- An increase or decrease in the obligee’s earnings or income due to the obligee’s property and assets
- Childcare expenses incurred by either parent in order to keep a job
- any other children under the care of either party
- Any other children under the care of either party
- What kind of alimony or spousal maintenance is being paid or received;
- Obligor or obligee receives an automobile, house, or other benefits from his or her employer or business entity.
- The parties or the child’s special education, health care, or other expenses
- The cost of traveling to obtain custody of and access to a child.
- Cash flow from any estate and assets, including real estate, personal property, and business property, can be positive or negative.
How to Challenge or Modify Child Support Order
In order to challenge or modify a child support order in West Virginia, a parent can take the following steps:
- File a motion with the court: A parent can file a motion with the court that issued the original child support order, requesting a modification or change to the order.
- Provide evidence of a change in circumstances: The parent must provide evidence of a significant change in circumstances that justifies a modification of the child support order. This can include changes in income, expenses, or the needs of the child.
- Attend a hearing: The court will schedule a hearing where both parents will have the opportunity to present evidence and argue their case.
- Wait for a decision: After the hearing, the court will make a decision on whether to modify the child support order and issue a new order.
Steps to Collect Child Support in West Virginia
Getting a child support order in place is only half the struggle in West Virginia. You’ll also have to collect the money itself. A noncustodial parent is responsible for paying the full amount of child maintenance per month as imposed by the court. Here are the steps for getting child support in WV
1. Open a Child Support Case
Complete a child support application with your local child support agency/office
2. Locate the Other Parent
To begin the child maintenance procedure in WV, the child support services (CSS) office will use the information provided by the applying parent, as well as information gathered from other sources, to try to locate the other parent.
3. Establish Parentage
It’s critical to establish a legitimate relationship with the child when the other parent has been located. The state will assist you in locating the sufficient means. Parents can choose to acknowledge their parentage voluntarily or organize a genetic screening.
4. Establish a Child Support Order
A West Virginia child support order specifies how much the other parent should pay and includes details such as the payment schedule and provisions for the child’s health insurance.
5. Set Up Payment
Deducting child maintenance from a parent’s paycheck and transferring the money to the other parent or guardian is the most typical method of payment. It’s a simple way to make and track child support payments.
6. Enforce the Support Order
Your WV child support services will enforce the child support order if the noncustodial parent does not pay the full amount or does not pay any. Exposing overdue child support payments to credit bureaus, intercepting income tax refunds, and Withholding child maintenance from unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits are examples of other enforcement measures.
7. Review the Order
Three years after the order is issued, either parent can request their local child support office to revise it. They can ask for a reassessment sooner than three years if a parent’s situation has changed significantly, such as loss of employment or imprisonment.
West Virginia Child Support Services Office, Number and Login Portal
Office – Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE)
350 Capitol St rm 147,
Phone Number – +1 800-249-3778
Online Login Portal – https://apps.wv.gov/DHHR/SPI/login.aspx
Retroactive Child Support and Arrears
The consequences of not paying child support orders in West Virginia may include:
- wage garnishment
- suspension of driver’s license, professional license, or recreational license
- liens on property
- denial of passport
- jail time
- credit damage
- fines and penalties
- interest on unpaid child support.
To enforce retroactive child support payments in West Virginia, the custodial parent can take the following steps:
- File a motion for retroactive child support with the court. This will require the non-custodial parent to pay child support for the time period before the current child support order was established.
- Provide evidence of the non-custodial parent’s income during the time period in question. This can include pay stubs, tax returns, and financial statements.
- Attend a hearing to present the motion and evidence to the court. The judge will consider the evidence and make a decision on the retroactive child support award.
- If the non-custodial parent fails to pay the retroactive child support, the custodial parent can request that the court enforce the order. This can include wage garnishment, suspension of driver’s or professional license, or even imprisonment.
- If the custodial parent has any difficulty in enforcing the court order, they can contact the West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement (BCSE) for assistance in enforcing the order.
If you feel the arrears are being demanded wrongly, you can learn how to get child support arrears dismissed HERE.
How to Pay Child Maintenance in West Virginia
In West Virginia, parents can pay child maintenance in a variety of ways, as long as your order doesn’t state otherwise:
- by debit or credit card,
- bank transfer
- direct deposit
- income withholding, or
- auto-draft from a bank account.
How to Check your Child Support Payment History in WV
When there are disagreements between the parents and a need to confirm how much money is owed, these child support payment records are extremely beneficial.
When Does Child Support End in West Virginia?
The West Virginia court “may order that one or both parents support a child until:
- the child is 18 years or finishes high school (whichever comes last),
- the child emancipates by getting married,
- the child’s disabilities are removed, or
- the child dies.
Nevertheless, if the judge determines that the child is disabled (physically or mentally), the child can receive support perpetually.
How Does WV Child Support Work if one Parent Has no Job?
In West Virginia, child support is determined using guidelines set forth by the state. The guidelines take into account the income of both parents, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children.
If one parent has no job, their income will be considered to be zero and the other parent’s income will be used to calculate the child support obligation. However, the court may also consider the parent’s employability, earning capacity, and other factors when determining the child support amount.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible in West Virginia?
NO. In West Virginia, child support payments are neither taxable to the recipient nor tax-deductible by the payer as stated by the IRS. Don’t include child support payments when calculating your gross income to see whether you have to file a tax return.
However, either parent may be eligible for a dependency exemption per child. If the parents can’t agree on who receives the exemption, the judge will set out the terms in a court order.
Getting a Skilled West Virginia Child Support Attorney
If you are involved in a family law matter in West Virginia, you may have a lot more questions than answers at this moment. You are not alone; Correspondence with members has shown that using the services of specialized child support attorneys saves a lot of hassles and most importantly, ensures you come out as a winner for you and your kid.
If you need to fight your child maintenance cause in WV with confidence, then you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.
Luckily, we have compiled a database of these expert child support lawyers and made them available for the convenience of our members. You can reach them at the click of a button for legal advice and representation on child maintenance.
West Virginia Resource
- West Virginia Child Adoption Guidelines
- West Virginia Childcare Guidelines
- West Virginia Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- West Virginia Child Support Guidelines
- West Virginia Divorce Guidelines
- West Virginia Marital Property Guidelines
- West Virginia Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check West Virginia Child Support Payment History
- West Virginia Child Support Calculator
- West Virginia Grants and Assistance for Single Mothers
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