It is both a natural and legal assumption that parents will take responsibility for the upbringing of their children, even when this gets complicated for reasons like a divorce. After a divorce, even the custody of the children can be dictated by a court, which may often give them into the care of one parent with the other parent providing financial assistance. Such child support payments can be a serious liability for that parent, who thus has a legal obligation to fulfill or face punitive action.
Divorce can be emotionally difficult for a child. In many cases, biological parents may vie for sole or primary custody where the child lives with one parent. The non-custodial parent is then liable for paying child support. When a Virginia non-custodial parent is delinquent in paying support, his or her child may suffer financial trauma as well. Many cases of child support delinquencies are reported every year in Virginia.
Divorces can be emotional for the parties involved, especially children. Courts in Virginia apply the rule of "best interest of the child" to determine most divorce issues related to the child. These issues may include child support, child custody and visitation rights.
In nearly half of Northern Virginia households today, the wife and mother is the primary income earner for the family. According to a recent survey, these high-earning women are entrepreneurs, business professionals and soldiers who are working outside the home and taking control of the family finances. With more women professionals, more men and dads are primary caregivers, staying at home and controlling the household. Because of this shift in responsibility, it cannot be assumed that after divorce the mother will automatically retain custody of the children and be paid child support. According to recent statistics, almost one in six fathers today have full or shared custody of their child, a substantial increase from 1960s.
In Virginia or elsewhere in the U.S., broken relationships or marriages ending in divorce may lead to sudden and unexpected financial difficulties for one or both partners. The situation becomes further complicated and painful when children are involved. A court, keeping the best interests of the child in mind, may order one parent to pay child support to the other. That, however, could remain only on paper if the payments are not actually made. All states now have departments or agencies that provide child support enforcement services.