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What happens if a parent fails to pay child support?

If you are a parent receiving child support, or a parent who pays child support, you may wonder what happens if a parent fails to pay child support in Virginia. In general, there are a variety of different enforcement mechanisms when a parent has failed to pay child support according to a valid child support order.

Failure to pay child support is a serious situation and several different child enforcement tools may be used to help collect unpaid child support. Parents who fail to pay required child support face property liens being place on their property; having their debts reported to credit agencies; having their driver’s licenses, and other licenses as well such as a business or occupational license, suspended; interception of tax refunds; or preparation of the case for court action among other potential consequences as a result of a failure to pay child support.

If a parent is facing challenges making their child support payments, it is important that they utilize family law resources to help them should they find they need assistance making their monthly child support payments. In some circumstances, a parent may be able to obtain a child support modification. This may be possible based on a significant change in circumstances for the parent or for the child. Simply failing to pay child support, or not paying the amount specified and ordered in a valid child support order, can result in significant negative consequences for the parent who has failed to pay child support.

Child support can undoubtedly be a challenging issue for parents including both the custodial parent receiving child support and the parent paying child support. As a result, the family law process provides important resources to help parents develop child support orders, enforce child support orders and modify them in some circumstances.

Source: Virginia Department of Social Services, “Child Support Frequently Asked Questions,” Accessed Nov. 10, 2017

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