For many divorcing parents, getting a child support order is only the first part of the battle. At some point, the parent who is supposed to pay the child support may stop paying. If this happens to you, you do not have to just accept that. There are several avenues for custodial parents in Virginia to collect unpaid child support.
DCSE liens and seizures
The Department of Child Support Enforcement is a division of the state's Department of Social Services with the power to take several types of actions against delinquent parents. DCSE can get a lien placed on the defaulting party's bank account to directly garnish the amount owed for child support. If the parent has a court judgment coming, DCSE can also place a lien on that money to ensure that the outstanding child support gets paid before the parent receives the money.
DCSE also has authority to intercept state and federal tax refunds and to take the amount of the child support due from that sum. DCSE can also restrict the delinquent parent's ability to travel outside the country by petitioning the Secretary of State.
Court order for wage withholding
Other types of relief can be available through petitions to the court. One commonly requested form of assistance is having the court order the noncustodial parent's employer to withhold the amount of current and overdue child support from his or her paycheck.
Significant child support arrears can result in the loss of driver's, professional and other licenses. The custodial parent must ask the court to initiate proceedings for license suspension.
In some cases, a custodial parent looking for overdue child support may be able to access the other parent's retirement accounts through a QDRO. This is a less common form of recourse and may be difficult to get. The custodial parent may ask the court for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order that will require the employer to set aside a part of the retirement account to pay the owed child support.
The likelihood of success of any of these methods depends on the specific circumstances of your case. A significant hurdle many custodial parents face is the other parent's claims to lack income or assets. While true in some cases, in others the custodial parent may suspect purposeful unemployment or hiding of assets. If you need to collect child support, a qualified attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and determine the most effective tactics to pursue the results you want.