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Handling child support with a fluctuating income

| Jan 29, 2021 | Child Support |

Children always come first even when their parents decide to divorce. Given that, one parent is usually responsible for paying child support and it’s usually the parent who is the higher income earner. If each parent has a career with a steady income, child support payments are relatively easy to figure out. But what happens when a payor in Virginia has an income that fluctuates such as in real estate sales or another position in which commissions are involved?

Of course, when a payor suffers total or partial loss of income, he or she may petition the court for a child support modification. A family court judge won’t be shy about asking why the change in income, so a payor must be prepared to answer some hard-hitting questions since child support obligations won’t end because of a job set-back. For a payor whose income goes up and down during the year, he or she has to think critically so as not to come up short financially.

Some professionals say payors in this case might want to have a sliding scale of child support payments that is akin to actual income. A possible ceiling could be put in place that would guarantee the payee at least a minimum amount each month. For privacy reasons, a payor may opt to have a neutral individual like an accountant or a lawyer verify income instead of providing documents to a former spouse.

Modifying child support payments is not always an easy thing to do. Virginia residents who are looking to do so may be wise to seek the advice of an attorney experienced in family law. If a payor’s income fluctuates it may be better to negotiate child support payments in light of that at the outset, rather than seeking a modification down the road.