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Consequences of ignoring a court order to pay child support

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2022 | Family Law

Paying child support is a topic of tension for many divorced couples in Virginia. Some people ignore court orders to pay their ex which can have serious repercussions for everyone involved.

When people understand the impact of their refusing to pay child support, they may have more incentive to honor their responsibility.

Calculating child support

Court officials calculate child support after assessing a variety of factors. According to the Virginia Department of Social Services, the formula used to determine child support looks at things like the following:

  • The cost of childcare
  • The value of both parents’ incomes
  • The value of spousal support payments
  • The cost of health insurance for each child

Paying child support

People cannot just ignore a court order to pay child support. They may face legal consequences for contempt. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, other consequences of non-payment include property liens, passport denial, income withholding and interception of tax refunds.

Sometimes, unexpected circumstances may complicate efforts to make timely child support payments. Job loss, medical emergencies and even mental illness may impact income. However, parents under a court order to pay child support should immediately notify officials if they cannot pay. With timely communication and evidence of financial hardship, people may have the opportunity to negotiate an alternative agreement. An adjustment to child support court orders may also occur as the needs of children change or parents receive an income enhancement.

Parents facing issues with making child support payments or parents struggling with a spouse who refuses to pay, may both benefit from hiring an attorney.