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What is the court procedure if a family law order is ignored?

Family law disputes are common in Virginia and it is often left up to the court to issue orders and make sure they are followed. If there is a family law order regarding spousal support or child support, or additional support and maintenance are owed and the person ordered to make the payments fails to do so, it is important for both sides to understand what steps will be taken under the law. For people who are dealing with these issues, getting the right legal information is crucial to attempt to settle the matter for the party who is to receive the payments and the party who has been ordered to pay and has been accused of failing to do so.

There are several laws that regulate how the court addresses these situations. The court can enforce the support requirement by ordering the person’s employer to withhold the necessary amount from their paycheck so it can be sent to the spouse or custodial parent who is supposed to receive it. The court can order there be what is known as “recognizance” – which is a bond – for it to be paid. Or, the court can even send the spouse or parent who has not paid what is owed to jail or put them on a work release program.

Along with these penalties, the court can issue a qualified domestic relations order, commonly known as a “QDRO,” or another order to ensure the support order is enforced. This means that the person’s retirement plan, pension, deferred compensation or profit-sharing can be garnished. The court will do what it deems necessary to get the payments for support. This can have a negative impact on the former spouse or parent who has failed to make the payments and cause significant problems for them.

Ignoring a family law order regarding support and maintenance is not a good idea. In general, this is perceived as an affront against the person who is the custodial parent or is supposed to be receiving maintenance. Still, some parents and former spouses are caught in a situation in which they cannot make the payments or other problems have arisen. Both parties should know that it is crucial to have the right legal information in spousal support and child support cases.

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