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Virginia Child Support Payments

Regardless of whether parents are together, they're required to provide financial support to their children. The amount of child support required depends on state laws; however, states generally follow one of three models. Virginia, for example, follows the "income shares" model, in which both parents' incomes are used to calculate the amount of support their child will receive.

Most states, including Virginia, also provide guidance on how to make child support payments. In Virginia, payments can be made through the state's Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) or directly to the custodial parent. Willfully failing to pay child support can result in misdemeanor charges, which, upon conviction, can lead to fines of up to $500 and/or up to one year in jail.

Virginia Child Support Payments: The Basics

Statutes are often written in language that can take time to understand, so it's often helpful to read an overview of the law to get a better understanding of it. The following table provides a basic overview of the laws affecting child support payments in Virginia as well as links to applicable statutes.


Virginia Code, Title 20:

Payment Options

The payments can be made directly to the payee if the payee specifically indicates that they don't want the services of the DCSE. If paying through DCSE, payments can be made through:

  • MyChildSupport (DCSE's payment system)
  • Online Banking
  • ExpertPay (private payment system)
  • Check or Money Order (mailed to DCSE)
Income Withholding

The court will order income deductions in the following circumstances:

  • If provided in a stipulation or contract signed by the payer and filed with the pleadings/depositions;
  • Upon notice of arrearages in a case where an order has been entered pursuant to Section 20-60.3; or
  • Upon a finding that the payer is in arrears for an amount that's equal to one month's support obligation.

The court may order income deductions in the following circumstances:

  • Based on the payor's past financial responsibility, history of prior payments pursuant to a support order, and any other relevant factors in determining the likelihood of payment in accordance with the child support order; or
  • At the payor's request.
Difficulty Making Payments

If a parent who's obligated to pay child support experiences life changes that make it difficult to pay the amount ordered by the court, they can petition to have the child support order modified.

Related Statute(s)

Virginia Code, Title 20, Chapter 6:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Virginia Child Support Payments: Related Resources

For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.

Have Questions About Child Support Payments in Virginia? Ask a Lawyer

It's important to keep up with child support payments not only to make sure your child has a good quality of life, but also because it can result in financial and criminal consequences. If you have questions about child support payments, or child support in general, it's a good idea to talk to a skilled child support attorney in Virginia who can provide legal advice based on your unique situation.

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