Even when parents separate, they usually remain legally obligated to support their children. That legal obligation is called child support. Child support is money meant to support the health and wellbeing of a child. Unfortunately, not all parents take their child support obligations seriously. If you’re the parent who’s supposed to receive support payments, it can be frustrating knowing that you are owed money but have no way of gaining access to it.
Don’t let your ex-partner jeopardize your child’s standard of living. The legal team at Pincus Goodman, P.C., wants you to know that there are ways to enforce a child support agreement in Virginia.
What Is Child Support?
Child support payments are supposed to ensure that a child has the financial means to grow and thrive. Generally, the non-custodial parent pays a set amount to the custodial parent to account for things like food, clothing, educational expenses, and medical care. The custodial parent is the parent who has primary physical custody of a child or the parent with whom the child lives most of the time.
Parents may not always agree on how to split childcare costs. In many cases, a Virginia court will intervene and set the terms of a child support agreement. The court will typically consider the following:
- Income of both parents
- Earning capacity of both parents
- Childcare costs
- Educational expenses
- Health care costs
- Living arrangements
- Number of children needing support
- Child’s standard of living
While calculating child support isn’t an exact science, Virginia has a mathematical formula to help parents understand how much they may owe in child support every month.
Enforcing Child Support Agreements in Virginia
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to collect the money the court has granted you. Thankfully, Virginia takes child support obligations seriously. The best way to recover child support is to talk with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can determine the best path forward in your situation.
Some of the ways you may be able to enforce a child support agreement include:
- File an enforcement action with the court – If a parent fails to uphold their end of a child support arrangement, you may be able to go back to court and file an enforcement action. An enforcement action means you are asking a judge to force the delinquent parent to pay the appropriate court-ordered child support. If a judge agrees that the parent has failed to meet their obligations, they can find the delinquent parent in contempt of court. Being held in contempt of court means a person has disobeyed a direct court order.
- File an application with the Virginia Department of Social Services – Within the Virginia Department of Social Services, there is a branch called the Division of Child Support Enforcement. You can file an application with the DCSE requesting their help to secure child support payments.
Getting the Child Support You Are Owed
Enforcing a child support agreement and getting the money you are owed are two separate things. Once you have taken the proper steps to enforce a child support agreement, it will be up to the state to help you obtain the money you deserve. Virginia family court judges and the DCSE can force delinquent parents to pay what they owe through a variety of means. To recover child support, these agencies may:
- Garnish wages
- Garnish state or federal income tax returns
- Place a lien on the delinquent individual’s house or property
- Suspend the delinquent parent’s driver’s license
If a judge finds the delinquent parent to be in contempt of court, they may also sentence the individual to jail time. Often, as a condition of being released from jail, the delinquent parent must pay at least a portion of the outstanding child support balance due.
Contact a Virginia Family Law Attorney Now
If you need help pursuing the child support money you are due, contact the office of Pincus Goodman, P.C. We will review your case and help you use the legal system to pursue the money you are owed.
Get in touch online or call our office today at (757) 301-9634 for a confidential consultation.