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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30395
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My subject is non-payment of child support from

Customer Question

My subject is non-payment of child support from non-custodial parent
Hello,
I am requesting this for my son who is primary custodial parent living in Virginia and not remarried and court ordered/approved primary custody for three natural born children ages 9,12, and 14.
Son is employed and children live with him and go to school in Virginia.
Divorced from his spouse who is remarried and lives in South Carolina and is not custodial parent.
Son has been receiving child support up to date current last as of June 2015 (est.) (court ordered)
Payments are $600 monthly, est.
No payments have been made for months of July, August, September, October ($2400 est.)
Both ex-spouse and her husband are working and own a house in South Carolina.
Monthly visitation by ex-spouse has been arranged where children are exchanged(?) at a meeting halfway between Virginia and South Carolina.
Going to court to recover $$ through govt. programs may be too slow and inefficient. Would there be a more efficient (sure) way of recovery? Also recovery of costs involved. Child support is considering “interstate enforcement” –whatever that means. Would that be efficient? Could “small claims court” be more immediate?
Some possibilities (mine) may be putting a lien on the ex-spouse’s house, wages garnishment of her (and her husband’s) wages, assignment of any savings and tax refunds.
Son is presently entertaining going to court to address the issue and threaten court ordered jail for non-support payments, but jail won’t get the $$ owed. What are all the best options?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your son's situation.

Interstate enforcement means that Virginia Child Support is going to reach out to South Carolina child support to get the money your son is owed. This is sometimes a cheaper and easier option when the parents live in different states. The state can also help with seizing tax returns (which is not something he'd be able to do himself without a lawyer).

A lien on the home may be a way to help collect past-due support, but won't help him receive ongoing payments. To do that, he needs to get a specific judgment for the past due amounts, which requires going back to the court that entered the order. It would be easier to have a lawyer help him with that, especially if the court order was entered in Virginia, because he'll have to get it domesticated in South Carolina before he can do anything with it (meaning he needs to file the order in a SC family court and ask the judge to enter a SC judgment). The first $10,000 in equity in their home is protect from being taken to pay a judgment. There would have to be more than that before he could the house to pay the past due amounts.

A judgement can also be used to take money out of her bank accounts, however, any wages earned by her husband would have to be released back to them.

If the non-custodial parent has steady employment, sending a copy of the child support order to her employer with a request for garnishment may be the fastest way to start receiving SOME income from her. Unfortunately, he cannot garnish the new spouse's wages, because the new spouse has no legal obligation to support her children from a prior relationship. He should talk to the employer in advance to see what information they need from him to do that. Most likely, they're also going to want a SC court order.

The way to get a judgment is to file a Motion for Contempt of Court. That means telling the judge how much she was supposed to pay, how much has NOT been paid, and asking him to order punishment for not paying. Punishment could include interest, payable to your son. The judge could order her to pay by a certain date or pay additional fines or penalties. He could suspend her driver's license (in extreme cases), and when someone refuses to pay for a really long time despite repeated warnings, the judge can put them in jail.

He should read the original order to see if it lets him charge the non-custodial parent for his attorney's fees if she does not follow the order. Many times, a support order will say this, and then he can essentially hire a lawyer at her expense. A Small Claims Court has no authority in child support cases and therefore cannot help with something like this. If he's already working with child support enforcement in Virginia, he may want to call again to see what, if anything, they can help him with and get an estimated time frame for when they think they'll be able to see results. If that doesn't work, a local attorney may be able to help him collect.

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