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What if My Child’s Other Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support?

When you finally have a child support agreement established with the other parent of your children, you feel relieved. Whether you came to an agreement yourselves or had to ask the court to intervene, you feel like you can move forward when the order is in place. But the solace you found when the issue was resolved quickly evaporates when it becomes clear the other parent is not paying. When you need child support to keep food on the table and a roof over your heads, you cannot wait for the other parent to decide to send a check. Fortunately, you have options.

Apply for the Division of Child Support Enforcement Services

In Virginia, if the other parent of your child is required by court order to pay child support, you have the right to ask the Division of Child Support Enforcement Services (DCES) to help. Once you apply for services and are approved, DCSE can step in and enforce the child support plan for you.

What DCSE Can Do

DCSE has numerous ways to ensure you receive your child support. For example, DCSE may:

  • Withhold child support from the other parent’s income, including normal wages, unemployment, disability or workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Garnish the parent’s state and federal tax refunds;
  • Place liens on the parent’s personal and real property, like his or her home;
  • Suspend the other parent’s driving, recreational, or occupational licenses;
  • File a contempt of court action; and/or
  • Obtain a bench warrant for the parent’s arrest.

While DCSE can escalate the situation when the other parent becomes significantly behind, such as at least 90 days or more in arrears, it does not often come to that. Once DCSE starts garnishing the other parent’s wages, you should start to see child support come in. However, it may take time to make up for all of the child support the other parent missed.

Return to Court

While DCSE has many administrative avenues to obtain your child support, there are limits to what they can do. If the other parent is successful in hiding income or avoiding DCSE, you will need to return to court. By working with an experienced Leesburg child support attorney, you can return to court and have a judge enforce additional punishments upon the other parent. The court can order wage garnishment or even the division of a pension, retirement plan, or other deferred compensation plan. It may also hold the other parent in contempt, suspend their driver’s license, fine them, and order jail time. Not paying child support can become a misdemeanor or felony criminal charge, leading to fines and imprisonment.

Contact the Leesburg Family Law Attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC

Child support can be a contentious issue from the very beginning, whether it comes about due to a surprise pregnancy or during a divorce. But once the issue is settled and there is a court-ordered plan, you expect and need it to be followed. If the other parent is not upholding their responsibility to pay support, do not hesitate to call Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC in Leesburg to learn about your enforcement options.


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