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The impact of the child support system on parents

Noncustodial parents in Virginia can face negative consequences when they fail to pay child support on time. For instance, they could experience financial problems, strained relationships with family members and the possibility of going to jail. In many cases, those who owe child support are already struggling financially. According to a report from the Urban Institute, 70 percent of parents who have outstanding support balances either report no income or make less than $10,000 a year.

When a parent fails to keep up with child support obligations, it could result in a criminal record or loss of a drivers license. Losing a job due to a criminal record makes it harder to provide financially for a child while losing a drivers license can make it harder to get to work or see a child. Ultimately, it can be the child who suffers the most as he or she is unable to have a relationship with the parent.

A parent who can't afford to provide financial resources to a child will probably not be able to afford an attorney to help in a child support case. Such parents could miss out on important legal information related to child support. In some cases, parents can face emotional trauma because they aren't able to provide for their children.

When a parent isn't granted physical custody of a child, he or she is generally required to pay child support to the custodial parent. Those who are struggling to make their payments could ask that an existing support order be modified. An attorney could help a parent pursue a support order modification. It is important to note that even if an order is modified, a parent must generally pay any back support owed.

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