Virginia Bill Would Increase Excessive Child-Support Obligations by Ignoring Economic Realities

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January 16, 2014

NPO Logo National Parents Organization improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting every child's right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
Virginia Bill Would Increase Excessive Child-Support Obligations by Ignoring Economic Realities
By Hans Bader, Senior Attorney, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Hans Bader
Hans Bader

The bill, HB 933 introduced in Virginia’s House of Delegates would increase the state’s child-support schedule, further increasing child-support obligations that are already excessive for many (but not all) non-custodial parents. The “bill is a recommendation of the Child Support Guidelines Review Panel,” whose proposed child-support increase ignores basic economic realities and overestimates the cost of raising children. It also appears to double-count expenses and make non-custodial parents pay custodial parents for costs that custodial parents have indirectly been reimbursed for by federal and state tax codes. It would force some low-income parents to pay what they cannot possibly pay, and substantially increase high-income parents’ obligations based on a misreading of Virginia child-support history and a likely failure to consider tax increases recently imposed on upper-income households.

(Before I proceed any further, I should note that I have no conflict of interest here: I am not divorced, and do not owe, pay or receive child support, and am raising my daughter with my wife, to whom I remain happily married. And although I am a lawyer, I don’t practice family law in Virginia. So I will not be affected by the proposed child-support increase.) Read more...

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