Hello, I have a court order for my ex to pay child support. Every month he is late, he gets verbally abusive when I contact and ask him about support. Now he is a week late and he says that he might schedule it to come out of his account, since "I need it to much". Constant humiliation. He says that nothing I can do about it because in the end he ends up paying and so what that it is late. I feel hopelless and I dread every month because I know that he will be late and I have to call and he will be abusive :( I heard that I can file with DSS in VA, but not sure that they can help. In the court order it says that he has to pay on the 1st and he has until 5th to pay. I feel that he is doing this on purpose, he knows i need that money. Please advise.
You can, and i would recommend that you do based on what you are saying here, request assistance from the Division of Child Support Enforcement. What they can do is enter an income deduction order so that the money due is taken directly out of his paycheck and paid to them, and then forwarded to you. Once entered, it would, in theory, ensure that you are paid fairly regularly. More importantly, it would eliminate the encounters over payment in which he plays power games with the support.
Alternatively, you can hire counsel to discuss entering the income deduction order without DCSE, but that would be best done by an attorney. You can do it alone, but the odds of a judge deciding not to grant it is higher.
The Department of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) can assist you with obtaining an income deduction order so that his employer withholds child support from his wages and sends the money to DCSE to be transferred to your bank account.
I agree that having withholding down through the DCSE would be easiest, no cost way to address this problem. However, there may be a problem qualifying for DCSE assistance at this juncture. I would suggest reading the notice provisions contained in your support order first, which should include a provision that says that the parties have agreed to direct payment of support and that support may be withheld through the DCSE IF it becomes more than 90 days late or $5,000 in arrears. So, if he is paying every month (even if a few days late), then DCSE may not have authority to issue an Income Deduction Order. You should call DCSE anyway and schedule an appointment (in case something has changed). The Fairfax office is located on Pender Drive and I believe they have "walk-in" days on Wednesdays.
Even if DCSE can take over under these circumstances and collect child support through a withholding order, it may not solve the actual problem that you seem to be having -- i.e., it sounds like you need the whole support payment paid on the 1st of each month. Instead of being paid the entire monthly amount on the 1st, the support amounts will be divided equally to correspond with the payor parent's pay periods (so, if support is $500 per month and he gets paid on the 1st and 15th of each month, then the IDO would deduct $250 from each paycheck). That money is not sent to you directly -- it goes to DCSE, they process it, then send you the payment. So, if $250 is withheld on the 1st, it may be the 10th before you receive it.
A couple of alternate suggestions:
1. If he is violating the court order every month by willfully withholding payments until they are late, then you can a Rule to Show Cause against him with the court that issued the support order.
2. If he is not technically violating the support order (i.e., because it says he must pay by no later than the 5th and he does pay by the 5th), then you may want to consider filing a petition (or motion) for modification of child support. Normally, I would not even suggest this course of action over a 5 day payment delay. However, if this situation is in fact causing you and your children some extreme hardship, then perhaps petitioning the court to modify the payment date (or pay BY date) on the support order may be warranted in your particular case.
If you are considering either one of the above court action, I would suggest contacting the Fairfax Bar Association for a lawyer referral and, depending on your income level, you may also want to contact Legal Service of Northern Virginia. Further information can be found at http://www.fairfaxbar.org
This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.
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