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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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How Can I Collect the Unpaid Child Support Owed to Me?


If you are owed back child support, also called child support arrearages, there are several different options available for you to enforce your support order and collect the money owed to you.

Income Withholding

If the person who owes you support (the “payor”) does not pay you on time, or misses payments altogether, you might want to consider garnishing the payor’s wages.  This can be done through an Income Deduction Order (IDO), which requires an employer to withhold funds from the payor’s wages for payment of basic child support, support arrearages and medical support.  A court can issue an IDO but you can also apply for one through the Department of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE).  DCSE will collect the money directly from the employer each pay period and then send the money to you. 

Liens and Seizure of Property
Another  way to collect the past-due child support owed to you is by obtaining a lien.  A lien is a legal tool that attaches the debt owed to you to the payor’s property, such as real estate, bank accounts and retirement accounts.  If property is sold while the lien is attached to it, the lien can be paid from the proceeds of the sale.  If the debt continues to be unpaid, a lien may allow you to “seize” the property, or force its sale, to obtain the money owed to you.  In addition to placing a lien on the payor’s property, DCSE can seize a payor’s federal and state tax refunds, retirement accounts, and bank account and use it to pay the back child support owed to you.

When the payor has failed to make payments to you for a period of 90 days or more, or the arrearages owed to you are over $5,000, DCSE can have the payor’s driver’s license, as well as other occupational or recreational licenses, suspended.   In these instances, DCSE can also request that the federal government revoke the payor’s passport, restrict his or her travel internationally, or deny the delinquent payor the right to apply for a new passport.

Contempt Actions 

Another method of obtaining the child support owed to you is a Rule to Show Cause.  This is an action filed with a court asking that the payor be held in contempt of court for failing to pay you court-ordered child support.  If a court finds that the payor is in contempt of court for failure to pay child support pursuant to a court order, the court can give you a judgment against the payor, order payment of the arrearage by a certain date, award you attorney’s fees and costs and even jail the payor for non-payment. 

Contact a Virginia Child Support Lawyer 

If you need assistance with getting your court-ordered support payments, contact the Virginia child support attorneys at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy to schedule an initial consultation to help you recover the child support you are owed.


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