Children in Virginia deserve to have the financial support of both parents. When a child’s parents are divorced, generally this means the noncustodial parent will pay child support to the custodial parent to help contribute to the costs of raising the child. In this way, both parents are meeting the child’s needs, so the child can grow up in a healthy and stable environment.
Unfortunately, due to a wide variety of circumstances, sometimes the party paying child support fails to meet this obligation. This harms not just the parent receiving child support, but the child as well. Therefore, there are certain actions that the local child support enforcement agency can take to enforce an order for child support.
For example, the paying parent’s income may be withheld – both wages earned, and any government benefits the paying parent receives. A lien may be placed on the paying parent’s home. The paying parent’s tax refunds may be garnished. The paying parent’s driver’s license or any occupational licenses may be suspended if the paying parent is at least 90 days in arrears. The nonpayment of child support may be reported to the credit bureau. The paying parent may be denied a passport. A bench warrant can be issued for the arrest of the paying parent. Finally, the paying parent may be deemed in contempt of court, which could lead to imprisonment.
As this shows, there are serious consequences for a failure to pay child support in Virginia. If the failure is beyond the paying parent’s control, for example, due to a job loss, the paying parent can move the court for a modification of child support. This should be done as soon as possible, as the paying parent will continue to be responsible for paying their current amount of support until the motion to modify is approved by the court.
If a parent in Virginia is having problems meeting his or her child support obligations, or if a parent is supposed to be receiving child support and isn’t, it may be time to seek professional guidance before the matter becomes worse.