Washington, DC asked in Family Law for Virginia

Q: If father has more than 10 kids, is he still responsible to pay child support for each child?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas H. Roberts Esq
Thomas H. Roberts Esq
  • Richmond, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Although it may come as a surprise to some the law recognizes ongoing duties in a civilized society that follows from an effortless two minute engagement - child support, and and no there is no prize of reckless abandonment free from that responsibilities to one who might engage in more irresponsibility than the average man.

The duty of a parent to support minor children is a continuing obligation subject to review by a court at any time as changing circumstances may dictate. See Featherstone v. Brooks, 220 Va. 443, 446 (1979); Code § 20-61. The duty of support of all children is owed to the child, not the custodial parent. The amount of the support is based primarily on the needs of the child and the ability of the parent to provide, not the needs of the noncustodial parent. Commonwealth ex rel. Gray v. Johnson, 7 Va. App. 614 (1989).

Virginia Code § 20-108.1 sets out the factors that the court considers in determining child support. Virginia Code § 20-108.2, which contains presumptive guidelines for the majority of child support cases, states in part, "If the gross income of the obligor is equal to or less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from time to time, then the court, upon hearing evidence that there is no ability to pay the presumptive statutory minimum, may set an obligation below the presumptive statutory minimum provided doing so does not create or reduce a support obligation to an amount which seriously impairs the custodial parent's ability to maintain minimal adequate housing and provide other basic necessities for the child."

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