Do I Need a Court Order For Child Support in Virginia?
Parents have a moral obligation to provide for their children. In the state of Virginia, they have a legal obligation as well. In cases where the parents are divorced or unmarried and no longer living together, a formal child support order helps to ensure this obligation is met. If you have been hesitant in obtaining a court order for payment, it is important to be aware of all the benefits it can offer both you and your child.
The Benefits of Obtaining a Child Support Order
As a parent, your top priority is the safety and well-being of your child. Financial support from both parents helps to ensure children are provided for and have access to the resources they need to thrive. If you are getting a divorce, a child support order will likely be included as part of your child custody proceedings. If you are unmarried, you may need to prove paternity first then file additional legal documents to request a child support hearing.
Under the Code of Virginia, factors the judge will consider in determining the amount that must be paid include each parent’s individual income and earning potential, the amount of time the child spends in their home, and any special needs they may have. While some parents choose to negotiate this amount on their own, it is still important to have a formal child support order issued. Benefits include:
- Helps to ensure you get the maximum amount of child support you are entitled to;
- Provides a timeline that you can count on in terms of regular payments;
- Helps to avoid late or partial payments;
- Provides a means of enforcement to ensure the debt is paid.
Making Sure Your Child Support Is Paid
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for non-custodial parents to fall behind in their child support or completely abandon their obligation. In some cases, job losses, health issues, and family concerns can combine to create problems. In this situation, you can work with the other party in making any needed modifications, while still ensuring this debt is paid.
At the same time, there are cases in which one parent simply refuses to pay. Without a court order, you have few legal options in holding them accountable. Having a formal child support order allows it to be enforced through the Loudoun County courts. Actions the court can take include:
- Issuing a summons for the non-paying parent to appear in court;
- Filing an arrest warrant if they fail to attend hearings;
- Garnishing any reported wages they have;
- Seizing funds in bank accounts;
- Placing liens on their property or other assets;
- Deducting child support payments from any Social Security, VA, or other benefits they receive;
- Suspending their driving privileges or professional license until the debt is paid.
Let Us Help You Today
At the law office of Schwartz Kalina, PLLC., we can help protect your rights as a parent while ensuring your children are provided for properly. Call or contact our Leesburg child support lawyers online and request a consultation today.