Risks of Ignoring Child Support Orders

Child support is often a tense subject between parents.  However, once a court order is in place, it is imperative that you follow the order and make your payments on time.  Failing to abide by the court order can result in major consequences.

In the District of Columbia, the IV-D agency is established as the Collection and Disbursement Unit for child support payments.  After one parent files a motion for contempt, the Court has many remedies.  Together, the Judge and the Collection and Disbursement Unit can do the following:

  • Intercept state or federal tax refunds
  • Place liens on personal or real property owned by the delinquent parent
  • Withhold income from a delinquent parent’s paycheck
  • Garnish disability or worker’s compensation income
  • Garnish federal retirement benefits
  • Intercept lottery winnings

Additionally, there are administrative penalties that may be utilized when a parent doesn’t pay child support in D.C.  These include:

  • The DMV may revoke or suspend your driver’s license, or may revoke your vehicle registration
  • D.C. can revoke a professional, business, or recreational license issued to you
  • The Collection and Disbursement Unit can report the delinquent parent credit bureaus if the overdue support is over $1000.
  • D.C. can report serious overdue child support cases to the federal government, who can suspend the delinquent parent’s passport

In Virginia, there are child support enforcement agencies in every county.  The primary goal of the child support enforcement agencies are to ensure that child support is paid in full.  The agency will first pursue administrative remedies, which include the following:

  • Intercept federal or state tax refunds
  • Intercept lottery winnings
  • Suspend the delinquent parent’s license through the Virginia DMV
  • Seize liquid assets (such as bank accounts) of the delinquent parent
  • Place liens against real or personal property of the delinquent parent
  • Report the parent to the credit bureaus
  • Refer the delinquent account to the Virginia State Department of Taxation and Finance for self-employed parents

If the administrative remedies are not effective, the child support agency can petition the Court for enforcement.  The Court may impose these additional penalties:

  • Suspend the business, professional, or recreational license of the delinquent parent
  • Require the delinquent parent to post an undertaking – which is an amount of money paid in advance, and child support payments are drawn from it.

Due to these harsh consequences of non-payment of child support, it is important to stay current in your payments.  If you experience a financial set back, contact the child support agency to see if an adjustment can be made temporarily.  If there is a significant change in your income, you may also petition the court to change the order permanently.

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