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West Virginia Child Support Laws

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The West Virginia Child Support program helps custodial parents locate non-custodial parents, to establish paternity, establish and enforce child support and medical support orders.

visitor slogan: Child $upport Is About Children So Please Pay On Time

The system will collect and record support payments from obligors who are court ordered to pay support. Child Support will then send the payment to the obligee. The BCSE is required, by law, to help you get your child support if you receive a public assistance check (TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid) to care for a child under the age of 18, or your child has been placed in Foster Care, or you have a medical card for the Medicaid Program.

If you receive public assistance, you will be required to cooperate with the child support to establish or enforce a support order. However, one exception does exist. If the obligor has harmed you or your child in the past and if you believe that the possibility exists that the obligor will hurt you again you may claim "good cause". When applying for public assistance, the WVDHHR worker will explain "good cause" to you. If the DHHR worker determines that "good cause" exists, you will receive your public assistance benefits without having to cooperate with child support.

All new or modified support orders provide for immediate income withholding. All cases are forwarded by the court to Child Support. The obligee may choose, at this time, to either apply for all child support services or apply for income withholding only services. If income withholding only is chosen, West Virginia Child Support will only withhold support from an employer. If the obligee chooses to receive all of child supports services, then West Virginia Child Support will collect & distribute all support paid through the income withholding & other collection methods. The tax intercept process is only available to full-service obligee's.

Establishing a Support Order

Child Support assists individuals to collect support payments, both what is due to you now (current support) and what has been due to you (arrearages). Child Support will ask the court to establish a child support order if none exists. An order sets a monthly amount of money owed by a parent (obligor) for the support of a child. The amount of support is determined by a formula called the child support guidelines. Child Support will also try to establish medical support, such as health insurance. West Virginia Child Support can request the court-ordered child support be paid past the age of 18 (but not past the end of the child's 19th year) if the child stays in high school or attends vocational school (not college.

Establishing the Legal Father of the Child

If a child is born to parents who are not married, the father must be legally identified before child support can be obtained. This process is call establishing paternity. West Virginia Child Support will assist the mother and/or child in establishing paternity and child support. West Virginia Child Support will also help a man who believes he may be the father establish paternity if a child has no legal father.

Both parents may sign a document stating they are the child's mother and father to legally establish paternity. This legal document, called a Declaration of Paternity Affidavit, may be picked up at your local county DHHR office, West Virginia Child Support office or the Office of Vital Statistics. These Affidavits may also be obtained and completed at any of the birthing hospitals or birthing centers in West Virginia at the time of the child's birth. However, court action will still be necessary to establish an order for child support.

Paternity may also be established by a court order. In a paternity action, a man alleged to be the father of a child may request that the court order blood testing. The mother, child and alleged father will all need to take this test. Even if the man lives in another state, a paternity action may be started in West Virginia. If a man is determined to be the legal father of a child, then he may have to:

  • Pay child support
  • Help pay any medical and hospital expenses related to the birth of the child.

Locating Parents that Owe Support

When a parent who should be paying child support cannot be found, West Virginia Child Support will try to find that person. West Virginia Child Support has the right to search for obligors by using records such as:

  • Driver's Licenses
  • Vehicle Registrations
  • Tax Records
  • Employment security records (which show whether a person is on any employer's payroll in WV)
  • Records that show if a person is receiving any public benefits, such as an unemployment check or Worker's Compensation.

If the obligor cannot be located in West Virginia, West Virginia Child Support Agency will search all other appropriate states. If a parent owing support cannot be found, they will work with the Federal government to find the obligor through the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), the Veteran's Administration (VA), the Social Security Administration, New Hire Registry, Federal Case Registry, and the Department of Defense.

This service is also used when there is a dispute regarding the child's custody or to locate a parent suspected of parental kidnapping. This service must be requested by the court or authorized, by a United States or a West Virginia attorney licensed to investigate, enforce, or prosecute the wrongful taking of a child.

Amnesty Program

The Amnesty Program was created by the West Virginia Legislature in an attempt to help obligors who have accumulated a large child support arrearage get the debt paid off. If both the obligor and the obligee agree, all the interest or a portion of the interest which has accrued can be forgiven. In exchange for erasing the interest, the obligor must agree to pay off the principal amount owed within a 24 month (2 year) period.



The parent who was not awarded legal custody of a dependent child and who owes a legal duty of support.


The parent who has temporary or legal physical custody of a dependent child and to whom child support is paid.


The accumulated child support obligation which remains unpaid before interest is added.


A condition that exists when the child support due is not paid and the amount equals at least one monthís obligation amount.


A court ordered or administratively ordered monetary amount to be paid by an obligor.

Customer service

West Virginia Child Support automated services
24-Hour Automated Telephone Information System

Automated information concerning child support services and child support payments is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customer service representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
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