What Can I Do If My Ex Isn’t Paying Child Support?

If your ex owes you back child support, you’re not alone. Statistics show that more than $100 billion is owed in unpaid child support in this country and only about 60% of what is owed is actually paid. When couples split up, their responsibilities to their children should remain an ongoing priority. When one parent doesn’t stay true to their obligations, there are consequences and ways for the other parent to push for compliance.

 What is a Virginia Child Support Order?

Custodial parents of minor children can apply for a child support order with the Virginia family courts. Often, this is done when there are divorce proceedings, or the Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) will do this automatically if you are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Virginia child support payments are calculated using Virginia’s child support guidelines.

Some couples who split up attempt to come to an informal agreement about child support payments. Whether written or verbal, these agreements are unenforceable through the Virginia family courts unless they are formalized as a court order. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to enlist the services of a reputable Virginia family law attorney for your child support and divorce issues.

 Family Court Enforcement of Child Support in Virginia

Once you have a formal child support obligation in place, you trust that your ex will adhere to the order to pay. Unfortunately, parents in Virginia alone owe more than $2 billion in unpaid child support. If your ex isn’t paying, there are a few motions that your Virginia family law attorney can file on your behalf.

  • Rule to Show Cause will require that the other parent appear in family court and give the judge an explanation about their failure to pay required child support payments. It will be up to that parent to prove why they shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for violating a court order.
  • Motion for Income Deduction Order asks the court to begin withholding child support payments from your ex’s paycheck. This order will put your ex’s employer in charge of taking money out of each paycheck and forwarding it to you.
  • Motion and Advance Notice for Judgment for Arrearages is a request that the court calculate how much back child support you are owed and enter a judgment against your ex for that amount.

 Possible Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support in Virginia

The consequences for failing to pay child support in Virginia can be harsh. A parent that fails to make their court-ordered payments is guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted, they could face a fine of $500, confinement in jail for up to 12 months, or both. The state’s DCSE has other methods of collecting back child support, none of which are pleasant for the parent who owes money. Among those methods are:

  • Garnishment of wages, income tax refunds, worker’s compensation benefits, and lottery winnings.
  • Seizure of property and bank accounts
  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Suspension occupational licenses
  • Passport denial
  • Liens on real and personal property
  • Reporting to credit bureaus

Virginia is just one of more than half of U.S. states that have recognized the futility of jailing some deadbeat parents. If you think about it, it becomes even more difficult to write a check for unpaid child support when the parent is in jail and unemployed. Because of this, Virginia participates in what is called an Intensive Case Monitoring Program (ICMP).

Contact Our Experienced Virginia Child Support Attorneys

The Commonwealth of Virginia always wants to protect the best interests of children. If your ex isn’t paying child support, you have remedies, but the processing can be intimidating. Contact the experienced and compassionate family attorneys at Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. who can explain your options and advocate for you and your children with the courts. Schedule your consultation now online or by calling (703) 361-1555.

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