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What can happen if you fail to pay child support in Virginia?

| Oct 16, 2021 | Family Law

Most parents are eager to participate in the care and raising of their kids, even if they are divorced. Unfortunately, some noncustodial parents fail to comply with court orders concerning child support. 

Some reasons that they do are more common than others, as described below.

Why do parents stop paying child support?

Three common reasons for non-compliance with child support orders here in Herndon, Virginia include a parent:

  • Cannot afford child support
  • Disputes the amount of support ordered
  • Plan to catch up on payments later

Unfortunately, you cannot change or make decisions about child support after a family law court has issued an order. If you do, the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) will take action against you to collect past due payments.

How do the authorities enforce child support orders?

Several different techniques exist that enable courts and the DCSE to collect past due child support. Examples of effective enforcement methods include the following.

  • Income and unemployment benefit withholding (garnishment)
  • Seizure and sale of property
  • Establishing liens against financial accounts
  • Interception of government payments (tax refunds, etc.)
  • Reporting arrearages to credit bureaus
  • Restricting or limiting passport privileges

If your payments are late by 90 days or more, or you owe more than $5,000, the DCSE may take further action. For example, you could have your driver’s license revoked or suspended. You could also lose any professional licenses or certificates you currently hold, further jeopardizing your financial situation.

Always pay your child support obligations on time. If you cannot afford them, consider seeking a legal solution. If you can show cause, a court may agree to modify your child support order, reducing your financial obligations while avoiding costly enforcement techniques. Consider learning more about child support and other Virginia family law issues to improve your circumstances.