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Child support enforcement in Virginia

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Arlington Family Law Blog |

Child support is a crucial financial responsibility that parents have towards their children. It helps cover the costs of raising a child, such as food, clothing, education and medical expenses.

However, when a parent fails to meet their child support obligations, there are serious consequences.

Financial penalties

The court may order the parent to pay additional fees or fines on top of the unpaid child support amount. These penalties can accumulate over time and further strain the parent’s financial situation. Also, the court could order income withholding. This means that the parent’s employer has to deduct the child support amount directly from their paycheck.

In cases of significant unpaid child support, the court may resort to seizing the parent’s assets. This can include bank accounts, real estate properties or other valuable possessions. Furthermore, the child support agency may report the delinquent payments to credit bureaus, which can lower the parent’s credit rating. A lower credit score can make it harder to secure loans or obtain housing.

License suspension and court action

Another consequence of failing to pay child support is the suspension of various licenses. This can include driver’s licenses, professional licenses or occupational licenses. License suspension can affect the parent’s ability to work, travel or engage in certain activities until they fulfill child support obligations.

The Virginia Department of Social Services states that when administrative enforcement fails, a non-custodial parent could face court action if they owe more than $500 in unpaid support and have failed to make payments for over 90 days. This could lead to contempt of court charges, which can result in fines or even imprisonment. These penalties highlight the importance of staying current on child support and paying arrears as soon as possible.


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