When parents in Virginia get divorced, one of their biggest concerns may understandably be how to deal with child custody. After that, they may raise concerns about how to handle child support. Here are a few tips for navigating the child support payment process going forward.
One of the most important tips for divorced parents who must make child support payments is to make their support payments on time. Establish a convenient and systematic method for making the payments. Also, keep a ledger detailing when you made the payment, the amount you paid, and the account you used to make the payment. Do not rely on your memory or think that you will be able to recreate this information in the future if a dispute arises about your payment history.
If you are facing legitimate financial challenges, always remember that the child support obligation is the most important bill in the eyes of most judges. If you are unable to timely pay the child support, you should consider being up front with the other parent or letting them know you are facing a struggle that is hopefully short term. Falling behind in child support can lead to additional problems. In Virginia, any missed child support payments automatically create a judgment. There are other severe consequences when child support is not paid, including being held in contempt of court, check garnishment, the forfeiture of tax returns, the loss of a driver’s license, and even jail time.
Avoid involving the children
Individuals who make child support payments should also avoid involving the children in their child support situations. For instance, it is best to avoid complaining to the children how the other parent spends the child support payments that he or she receives. This is important because the divorce process can inherently be traumatic, and dragging the children into monetary fights with the other parent will only make the situation more challenging for the children.
Seek the help of an attorney
When dealing with the issue of child support payments, it is critical that parents seek the help of a family law attorney early on. This is important whether they expect to receive child support payments or they believe they will be required to make such payments. Either way, an attorney in Virginia will ensure that his or her client’s financial best interests are protected long term.