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What happens if you fall behind in your Virginia child support?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2022 | Family Law

When parents who share a child separate or divorce, one of the issues they will need to deal with is child custody and support. Fortunately, Virginia courts take into account a number of factors when setting the child support amount. And once an amount is set, it is important that you abide by the ruling and make your payments on time.

But what happens when you fail to keep up with your child support payments? Well, here is what you need to know about child support obligations in Virginia.

Failure to pay child support has consequences

You will be deemed delinquent if you do not honor your child support obligation. If this happens, the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) can step in to enforce the support order or apply penalties with that goal. Some of the penalties the DCSE can impose if you fall behind in child support payments include:

  • Directing your employer to withhold your wages or other benefits
  • Placing a lien on your property
  • Intercepting your state or federal tax refunds
  • Suspending your driver’s license
  • Voiding or stopping you from obtaining a passport

So what should you do if you are no longer able to pay child support?

Circumstances change, and the court understands this. If you have lost your job or are unable to work due to an illness, it is important that you petition the court to modify the existing custody order. During your petition, you will need to provide evidence of loss of income. 

Upon reviewing your petition, the court will determine if the existing child support amount can be modified downwards. However, keep in mind that your petition will be declined if it is established that you deliberately quit your job to avoid paying child support. 

Every parent has a responsibility to provide for their child until they can fend for themselves. However, if you are no longer able to fulfill a court-sanctioned child support order, it is important that you take appropriate steps to modify the existing arrangement.