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How does Virginia enforce child support orders?

Child support can make all the difference to newly divorced parents who have custody of their children. It can be difficult to adjust your standard of living to a single income while still covering all of the necessities of life. While child support may not actually represent how much you spend to care for your child, it can at least reduce the financial burden.

Unfortunately, not everyone is reliable about paying child support. In fact, some parents are downright terrible at fulfilling their parental obligations, even though the state tries to be very fair in setting amounts. If your ex is flaky or otherwise unreliable, you might wonder what options you have when they fail to pay child support. Luckily, the state of Virginia does understand the importance of child support and protects custodial parents who receive support from the other parents.

You can ask the state to enforce child support

When your ex isn't paying in full and on time, you can talk to them and ask them to fulfill their obligation to your kid. Unfortunately, that may not resolve your issues. They may continue to resist and push back on your request for reliable child support payments.

In that situation, you can ask the Virginia family courts to initiate enforcement proceedings. They can then take certain actions to help connect you with the child support you depend on.

Wage garnishment and similar steps can help you

Some people won't pay child support voluntarily, so the courts will typically have the support amount automatically deducted from a parent's paycheck.

The state would arrange these payments directly with the employer. In some cases, where there is substantial back child support owed, it may also be possible to ask for the courts to garnish your ex's wages. Other times, they may need to take more aggressive steps.

Alternative enforcement options in Virginia

Maybe your ex works a cash job where they don't have any reported income. Perhaps they simply won't keep a job for more than a few weeks to avoid child support enforcement. In situations like this, the state will take extra steps to help remedy the situation.

They can seize the state or federal tax returns that your ex should receive. They can also intercept lottery or gambling winnings. In extreme cases, the state may opt to deny someone the renewal of their license, whether it's a recreational license, a driver's license or a professional license. Virginia may also go so far as to arrest someone for being in contempt of a court order.

Sometimes, the easiest way to remedy your child support situation is to take the first legal steps necessary to secure enforcement. Sitting down to talk with an experienced family law attorney can help you figure out the best way to get the support you need after your Virginia divorce.

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