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How Virginia deals with child support enforcement

When parents in Virginia part ways, one parent will likely receive custody of the child or children. Often, the other parent will be asked to pay for the child's upkeep and care with child support payments. This is detailed in the support agreement. However, there are instances in which the supporting parent doesn't keep up with the payments, and it is necessary for the state to pursue him or her to get their payments up to date. Child support enforcement has many ways in which it will go about getting the parent to pay.

The Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) will do what it can to recover delinquent payments. One tactic that is often used is to withhold the income of the supporting parent. In addition, there are other methods used, such as liens on property, reporting the issue to credit agencies and the suspension of various licenses that are issued by the state. Tax refunds can be intercepted and court action can be started. The amount of time it takes to get this process started can vary. First the parent who is not making the payments according to the support agreement will be served notice that they are being pursued.

Sometimes the custodial parent is not aware of where the supporting parent resides. The DCSE can use automated methods to find the parent. Often the custodial parent can be helpful with names and addresses of relatives and last known places of residence or work. A case will be referred to the court after other attempts to recover payment have failed. If the paying parent is a minor father, there is no option other than to move forward with court action. Cases are usually referred to court when the parent has not paid for three months and is $500 behind in payments.

An important aspect of child rearing is ensuring that they are cared for appropriately. That includes paying child support on time and in the correct amount. If there is an issue with making the payments, it is a mistake to simply stop paying without trying to come to other arrangements. There will be penalties for not paying. Parents who are having trouble collecting child support or who have trouble paying child support may want to discuss the matter with a professional.

Source: dss.virginia.gov, "Child Support Frequently Asked Questions: Enforcement," accessed Jan. 20, 2015

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