The Division of Virginia Child Support Enforcement is proud of the work they do helping the children of Virginia.
Last year, Virginia located 145,862 non-custodial parents, established 8,199 paternities and collected more than $629 million (an increase of 3.4 percent over the previous year) for the children of Virginia. Still, unpaid child support is a significant problem. It is very important to know that the children must come first. Children's support should come from both parents.
Establishing paternity means legally identifying the father of a child. There are many important reasons to establish paternity Every child deserves a mother and a father. Paternity creates a legal relationship between the father and the child and makes the father legally responsible for paying child support. Paternity may provide legal benefits for your child, such as:
It is important for children and your children's doctor to know their family's medical history, such as genetic traits or histories of prevalent conditions or diseases. If you were married when the child was born, your husband is considered the legal father, and is financially responsible for the child.
If your husband does not believe he is the father, he has the right to ask the court to declare he is not the father. A father can acknowledge paternity voluntarily by signing a form that states he is the father. The form is available at any Virginia child support office, most hospitals, local health department child clinics and the Vital Records office in Richmond.
The form can be completed anytime following the birth of the child. If the named father does not acknowledge paternity, or denies being the father, we can administer a genetic test to determine whether or not he is the father. If the named father refuses to take our genetic test, a court hearing will be scheduled, and a judge will make a legal determination about who the father is.
Courts may require a genetic test to establish paternity beyond any doubt. The mother, the child and the named father usually all take the blood test. If the named father does not appear at the court hearing, the judge may rule there is enough evidence to declare he is the father for the purpose of collecting child support.
Before they can establish paternity, they must contact the Non-custodial parent. By law, non-custodial parents must be given notice of the legal action being taken to collect child support from them, and they must be given a period of time to appeal the action, if they disagree. Our ability to contact the non-custodial parent depends upon your full cooperation.
It is very important for you to make every effort to find the noncustodial parent yourself, or to help us by providing any information we may need. When non-custodial parents are found, they may notify them to come to the Virginia Child Support agency or that legal action may be taken against them.
Establishing an order
After paternity is legally established, they can begin to establish a child support order. The support order can include both financial support and health insurance coverage, and spells out exactly what the non-custodial parent must pay on a monthly basis to help support his or her child.
The support order also requires non-custodial and custodial parents to report changes to their home or work address or phone number.
Must A Court Establish An Order?
No. It is not always necessary to go to court to establish a child support order. Virginia Child Support law allows many child support orders to be established administratively, which means that we can arrange it for you.
When ever possible, we try to establish child support orders administratively instead of taking the case to court, because it is faster. If the non-custodial or custodial parent contests the actions being taken by us, an appeal process is available.
Enforcing an order
When the noncustodial parent fails to pay his or her child support order on a timely basis, we will usually begin proceedings to enforce the order. Typically, enforcement proceedings begin when payments are 30 days overdue. Virginia Child Support has a number of options it can use to enforce support orders.
The most basic option is income withholding, which means that a portion of the non-custodial parent's paycheck is automatically take out and applied to the child support order. Income withholding can be used even if the parent changes jobs or moves to another state.
For non-custodial parents who do not receive a regular paycheck, or who work for cash or commissions, or are self-employed, they can use other ways to try and collect Virginia Child Support. Some of these ways may include:
In addition, they may generate notices to encourage the non-custodial parent to pay. Taking the noncustodial parent to court for stronger enforcement measures is also an option, but this option is usually not taken until many of the above efforts have been tried.
Review and Adjustment
Review and Adjustment means reviewing a child support order to see if the Virginia Child Support amount should be changed. Either parent can request a review by sending the district office reasons for requesting a review. Reasons may include when:
They limit reviews to one every 36 months, unless certain very specific conditions are met. Virgina Child support customer service representatives can advise you of these conditions. They cannot conduct a review if the last or only child on the order will turn 18 and graduate from high school within 6 months of the request, or if the case is arrears-only.
Not all reviews result in a change to the order, and the amount may not change as you think it will. A review may show the child support amount needs to go up, down or stay the same.
Look carefully at changes in your own income. Support is based on a percentage of your income as well as the other parent's.
They cannot always stop the review process once it has begun, and the process usually takes at least 6 months to complete. Therefore, be certain you want a review before you request it.
Virginia Child Support Customer Service
CENTRAL OFFICE CUSTOMER SERVICE
7 North 8th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(800) 468-8894 (toll free)
Hearing Impaired (800) 828-1120
Send the payment to Virginia Child support at:
P.O. Box 570
Richmond, VA 23218-0570
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