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Are there child support issues the DCSE in VA can't settle?

Child custody and support in Virginia can be a thorny issue whether the couple was married and got a divorce or if they simply had a relationship and share a child. There are numerous problems that can arise and the Department of Child Support Enforcement is available to help both the custodial parent and the supporting parent deal with them while keep in mind the best interests of the child. That, however, does not involve every possible problem. This is why it's important to know not only what the DCSE can do, but what it can't.

The DCSE cannot do certain things when a couple is having a dispute. The agency is not able to assist with a child custody dispute, visitation schedules and rights or property disagreements. It cannot intervene to a significant degree when collecting support for either the spouse or the child if payments are in arrears unless it is a combination of support and custody order from the non-custodial parent. No legal advice can be provided. The DCSE will not provide a parent with a lawyer or provide representation to either parent in a court of law. The state is able to hire legal representation for itself.

There can be no judgment for a non-custodial parent to deal with uninsured medical expenses from the DCSE. The court can be petitioned for this. If a judgment has been issued ordering the non-custodial parent to pay a certain amount, the DCSE can help with enforcement. If there is no start date, identification of children and amount that is supposed to be paid, the DCSE cannot enforce the order. A parent who has no income cannot be made to pay by the DCSE. There is no authority over court rulings. The DCSE does not have the authority to make an arrest if a non-custodial parent is not paying as he or she is ordered to.

The DCSE is able to provide various forms of assistance, but there is no guarantee that it will be successful. The agency will decide on how to conduct actions in individual cases for the parent seeking assistance. If the parent would like to have more control over how a child support situation is resolved, it is wise to discuss the case with a private legal professional.

Source:, "Services DCSE Cannot Provide, page 16," accessed on Sep. 15, 2015

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