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What happens if child support isn’t paid?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | Child Support

When parents are separated, one parent is generally required to pay the other child support. Child support, as you may know, is a legally obligated parental contribution to a child’s financial welfare.

The court typically decides how much a non-custodial parent has to pay. Age, mental and physical health and education of the child, a family’s standard of living and the custodial parent’s financial resources may all play a factor in how much a parent must pay to the other. In some cases, parents are required to pay a set fraction of their income.

Some parents have a problem with how much they believe they should be paying for the care of their children. For some, it could be as simple as how they feel their child should be raised, while others may entirely object to child support, believing that they shouldn’t be responsible for their child’s care. Others feel that their required contribution amount isn’t sustainable. When this happens, a non-custodial parent may not make child support payments.

Understanding the penalties for not paying child support

Virginia’s Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) is responsible for enforcing child support payments and, thus, may have the power to impose penalties on those that don’t meet their obligations. Some parents may suffer fines, wage garnishment and reduced tax returns as a result of unpaid child support.

Additionally, the DCSE may place interest on unpaid child support. The longer a child support payment is left unpaid, the more interest it may accumulate, until the issue is resolved. If a parent has a driver’s license, recreational license or professional license, then a court may suspend them. Likewise, passport applications and renewals may be blocked.

Payments and fines that are left unpainted may, in extreme cases, lead to a parent facing incarceration. However, courts often find this counterproductive to a child’s well-being and mental health.

If a non-custodial parent is repeatedly missing payments, then you should understand your legal options and you may benefit from seeking legal guidance accordingly.

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Attorney Harvey S Lutins