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West Virginia Child Support Enforcement
 

Enforcing an Order

What is enforcement?

Once a child support order is obtained, the BCSE will enforce the order if the non-custodial parent does not pay as ordered. The duty of support continues until a child turns 18 years of age. A court may order support up to the age of 20 so long as the child remains enrolled in secondary school and is making substantial progress toward a diploma.

If child support is not being paid as ordered, the BCSE enforces the order for current support and collects the balance of unpaid child support (arrears). Once an order is entered with the court, the BCSE will first try to initiate an income withholding order against the non-custodial parent's source of income. If the non-custodial parent is not working, the BCSE will attempt collection of support by phone calls and letters requesting payment from the non-custodial parent. If this method is not successful, the BCSE may petition the court for an Order To Show Cause, which asks the court to order the non-custodial parent to appear and explain why he/she is not paying the court ordered amount of support. At this time, a judgment may be awarded to the custodial parent for any amount of unpaid support. The judge assigned to the case can order the non-custodial parent to find a job immediately and begin paying support and may also demand a lump sum payment at the time of the hearing.

The BCSE has further methods to enforce payment of child support and past due child support, including income tax refund intercepts, civil and criminal contempt of court, and other enforcement actions.

How is child support collected and disbursed?

The BCSE collects and distributes child support payments. Payments should be sent to:

BCSE
P.O. Box 247
Charleston, WV 25321

Include the case number, if known, or the non-custodial parent's Social Security number to assure timely allocation of your payment.

It is the non-custodial parent's responsibility to pay the full amount of the child support order on time, every time. If the non-custodial parent fails to make a full payment, a record of the missed payment will be kept. The obligation to pay child support does not go away when you do not make a payment. By law, child support obligations take priority over mortgage payments, car loans, credit card debt, household bills, and discretionary items such as cigarettes and alcohol.

It is important that both the custodial parent and non-custodial parent notify the BCSE of all address changes, so that payment can be properly credited and distributed.

Click here to send your caseworker an address update.

If child support money is not sent to the BCSE, you will not receive credit for your payments. If you have questions about your payments, contact the BCSE at 347-8688 or 1-800-571-4864 or call the Interactive Voice Response (IVR). To receive a PIN number for the IVR, and a brochure on how to use the system, call 304-558-4665 or 1-800-249-3778.

How is my employer notified to withhold wages?

If the employer is known, the BCSE can use a method called income withholding to withhold wages from the non-custodial parent's paycheck. If the employer is unknown, the notice of income withholding is sent by the BCSE as soon as an employer is located.

Employers are required by federal law to report information on all newly hired employees to the appropriate state new hire reporting center. At the New Hire Reporting Center, the social security number and name of the employee are matched with child support cases to identify employees who have child support cases. When a non-custodial parent's employer is verified, the caseworker can initiate the procedures for an income withholding.

Click here if you would like more information about West Virginia's New Hire Reporting Center. 

What if I don't pay my child support?

If you don't pay your child support, past due payments (arrears) will accumulate. Enforcement methods the BCSE may use to collect arrears include:

  • Income withholding

  • Judgments

  • Post-judgment remedies, including garnishment of earnings and assets and/or putting a lien on your personal and real property and motor vehicles

  • Intercepting your IRS and State tax refunds, State lottery winnings, and Unemployment and Worker's Compensation Benefits

  • Billings and delinquency notices

  • Denial, revocation, or limitation of passports

  • Referring case for prosecution under the Federal Child Support Recovery Act and the Deadbeat Parent's Punishment Act

  • Reporting to credit bureau/consumer protection agency

  • Revoking your driver's license and/or business or professional license

  • Filing a contempt action against you in court, which can lead to jail

  • Seizure of bank accounts as allowed by law and regulation

The type of enforcement action taken depends on the individual circumstances of your case.

The best way to avoid these collection methods is to pay your child support. If you are having trouble making your payments, call the BCSE at 347-8688 or 1-800-571-4864 . We may be able to help.

How are arrears calculated?

Arrears begin to accumulate as soon as a payment or portion of a payment is missed. The BCSE tracks missed payments, late payment fees and penalties, and interest. To see an example of an arrearage calculation sheet from BCSE, click here.  For information about payments due, custodial and non-custodial parents can call the BCSE office at 347-8688 or 1-800-571-4864 and talk to a customer service representative.

Information Required

To help enforce your case, provide your caseworker with:

  • Full name, address, and phone number of the parent who owes support and date at last address

  • Social Security number and date of birth of the non-custodial parent

  • Name and address of the current or most recent employer of the non-custodial parent

  • Name and address of the parents of the non-custodial parent

Any other information pertaining to income or property of the non-custodial parent such as cars, boats or homes, bank accounts, inheritance, and possible personal injury settlements

Click here to e-mail a change of address to your child support caseworker.

Click here to e-mail a change in employment to your child support caseworker.

Estimated Timeframes

The time it takes for a particular enforcement action to take effect varies significantly based on the enforcement action. When there is enough information for issuance of an income withholding order, it will be issued within 15 days. Within 30 days, enforcement actions will be taken unless service of process is necessary. If service of process is required, the caseworker will ensure that service is completed and an enforcement action taken within 60 days.

Enforcement actions such as motions for contempt and motions for entry of judgment may take longer because of judicial and statutory requirements. Liens will depend on when the person attempts to sell their property. State and federal tax refunds typically occur during tax season and are dependent on a refund being available to intercept. If you have questions about timeframes, contact the BCSE and your caseworker will provide you with further information.

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