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Understanding child support in Virginia

Any man or woman who is the primary caretaker of minor children in the state of Virginia may file to receive financial support from the other parent. In order to receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent, the primary caretaker will have to prove that the other parent has a duty to financially support the child.

When it is determined that the primary caretaker should indeed receive child support, these payments may be paid directly to the custodial parent, or the caretaker could get their payments through Virginia's Division of Child Support Enforcement. In some circumstances, non-custodial parents will be required to make child support payments through the division.

If the primary caretaker is not receiving child support payments from the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent or the Division of Child Support Enforcement can file a motion that will request a mandatory wage assignment. A mandatory wage assignment order means that the non-custodial parent's employer will be required to withhold the amount from the parent's wages for child support. To file for this order, the primary caretaker will need to know the name of the other parent's employer, the other parent's social security number and how often that parent is paid.

Understanding child support obligations and how the system works is only one of the issues that a person might face after a divorce. In addition to custody issues and visitation rights, a person involved in a divorce may need to make decisions regarding spousal support and property division. It can be difficult for a person to handle these issues without professional help, and failure to protect one's interests may affect his or her financial and social situation in the future. However, working with a family law attorney may make the process easier for some individuals.

Source: The Fairfax County Commission for Women, "Separation and Divorce Information", October 10, 2014

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