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West Virginia Child Support Definitions

DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED TO CALULATE THE SUPPORT:

Adjusted gross income.
(a) "Adjusted gross income" means gross income less the payment of previously ordered child support, spousal support or separate maintenance.
(b) A further deduction from gross income for additional dependents may be allowed by the court or master if the parent has legal dependents other than those for whom support is being determined. An adjustment may be used in the establishment of a child support order or in a review of a
child support order. However, in cases where a modification is sought, the adjustment should not be used to the extent that it results in a support amount lower than the previously existing order for the children who are the subject of the modification. The court or master may elect to use the following adjustment because it allots equitable shares of support to all of
the support obligorís legal dependents. Using the income of the support obligor only, determine the basic child support obligation (from the table of basic child support obligations in section three, article one-b of this chapter) for the number of additional legal dependents living with the support
obligor. Multiply this figure by 0.75 and subtract this amount from the support obligor’s gross income.
(c) As used in this section, the term "legal dependents" means:
(1) Minor natural or adopted children who live with the parent; and
(2) Natural or adopted adult children who are totally incapacitated because of physical or emotional disabilities and for whom the parent owes a duty of support.

Attributed income.
(a) "Attributed income" means income not actually earned by a parent, but which may be attributed to the parent because he or she is unemployed, is not working full time, or is working below full earning capacity, or has nonperforming or under-performing assets. Income may be attributed to a parent if the court or master evaluates the parentís earning capacity in the
local economy (giving consideration to relevant evidence that pertains to the parentís work history, qualifications, education and physical or mental condition) and determines that the parent is unemployed, is not working full time, or is working below full earning capacity. Income may also be attributed to a parent if the court or master finds that the obligor has nonperforming or under-performing assets.
(b) If an obligor: (1) Voluntarily leaves employment or voluntarily alters his or her pattern of employment so as to be unemployed, underemployed or employed below full earning capacity; (2) is able to work and is available for full-time work for which he or she is fitted by prior training or experience; and (3) is not seeking employment in the manner that a reasonably prudent person in his or her circumstances would do, then an alternative method for the court or master to determine gross income is to attribute to the person an earning capacity based on his or her previous income. If the obligor’s work history, qualifications, education or physical or mental condition cannot be determined, or if there is an inadequate record of the obligor’s previous income, the court or master may, as a minimum, base attributed income on full-time employment (at
forty hours per week) at the federal minimum wage in effect at the time the support obligation is established.
(c) Income shall not be attributed to an obligor who is unemployed or underemployed or is otherwise working below full earning capacity if any of the following conditions exist:
(1) The parent is providing care required by the children to whom the parties owe a joint legal responsibility for support, and such children are of preschool age or are handicapped or otherwise in a situation requiring
particular care by the parent;
(2) The parent is pursuing a plan of economic self-improvement which will result, within a reasonable time, in an economic benefit to the children to whom the support obligation is owed, including, but not limited to, self-employment or education: Provided, That if the parent is involved in an educational program, the court or master shall ascertain that the person is making substantial progress toward completion of the program;
(3) The parent is, for valid medical reasons, earning an income in an amount less that previously earned; or
(4) The court or master makes a written finding that other circumstances exist which would make the attribution of income
inequitable: Provided, That in such case, the court or master may decrease the amount of attributed income to an extent required to remove such inequity.
(d) The court or master may attribute income to a parentís
nonperforming or under-performing assets, other than the parentís primary residence. Assets may be considered to be nonperforming or under-performing to the extent that they do not produce income at a rate equivalent to the current six-month certificate of deposit rate, or such other
rate that the court or master determines is reasonable.

Automatic data processing and retrieval system.
"Automatic data processing and retrieval system" means a computerized data processing system designed to do the following:
(1) To control, account for and monitor all of the factors in the support enforcement collection and paternity determination process, including, but not limited to:
(A) Identifiable correlation factors (such as social security numbers, names, dates of birth, home addresses and mailing addresses of any individual with respect to whom support obligations are sought to be established or enforced and with respect to any person to whom such support obligations are owing) to assure sufficient compatibility among the systems of different jurisdictions to permit periodic screening to determine whether such individual is paying or is obligated to pay support in more than one jurisdiction;
(B) Checking of records of such individuals on a periodic basis with
federal, interstate, intrastate and local agencies;
(C) Maintaining the data necessary to meet applicable federal reporting requirements on a timely basis; and
(D) Delinquency and enforcement activities;
(2) To control, account for and monitor the collection and distribution of support payments (both interstate and intrastate) the determination, collection and distribution of incentive payments (both interstate and intrastate), and the maintenance of accounts receivable on all amounts owed, collected and distributed;
(3) To control, account for and monitor the costs of all services rendered, either directly or by exchanging information with state agencies responsible for maintaining financial management and expenditure information.
(4) To provide access to the records of the department of health and human resources in order to determine if a collection of a support payment causes a change affecting eligibility for or the amount of aid under such program;
(5) To provide for security against unauthorized access to, or use of, the data in such system;
(6) To facilitate the development and improvement of the income withholding and other procedures designed to improve the effectiveness of support enforcement through the monitoring of support payments, the maintenance of accurate records regarding the payment of support and the prompt provision of notice to appropriate officials with respect to any arrearage in support payments which may occur; and
(7) To provide management information on all cases from initial referral or application through collection and enforcement.

Basic child support obligation.
"Basic child support obligation" means the base amount of child support due by both parents as determined by the table of basic child support obligations set forth in section three, article one-b of this chapter, based upon the combined adjusted gross income of the parents and the number of children to whom support is due.

Chief judge.
"Chief judge" means the circuit judge in a judicial circuit that has only one circuit judge, or the chief judge of the circuit court in a judicial circuit that has two or more circuit judges.

Child support enforcement division.
"Child support enforcement division" means the agency created under the provisions of article two of this chapter, or any public or private entity or agency contracting to provide a service. The "child advocate office" or" child support enforcement division" is that agency intended by the Legislature to be the single and separate organizational unit of state government administering programs of child and spousal support enforcement and meeting the staffing and organizational requirements of the secretary of the federal department of health and human services.

A reference in this chapter and elsewhere in this code to the "child advocate office" shall be interpreted to refer to the child support enforcement division.