West Virginia Child Support Laws
West Virginia Child Support
West Virginia offers assistance to parents or guardians who are interested in obtaining or paying child support payments. The office that administers these services is West Virginia’s Bureau of Child Support Enforcement (BCSE). The BCSE office can help both custodial and non-custodial parents with services such as establishing paternity, locating non-custodial parents, establishing child support orders, enforcing child support payments, and securing child support from parents who live in another state.
When you receive public assistances aid through TANF, Food Stamps, or Medicaid to care for a child under eighteen; or if your child is in foster care, you will automatically be referred to West Virginia’s BCSE office for child support assistance.
Who Can Apply For West Virginia Child Support Services?
Families who receive public assistance are ask to cooperate with the BCSE in order to enforce or establish child support orders. However, if the non-custodial parent has a history of abusing either you or your child; or if you feel the possibility of abuse exists, you may claim "good cause," and avoid this requirement.
Families who do not receive public assistance can still receive child support assistance through the BCSE office by filling out an application for services. There is currently no charge for BCSE services; however, this may change in the near future. Contact your local county BCSE office to find out if a fee system has been established.
How Is Child Support Established in West Virginia?
After you apply for services with the BCSE office, your caseworker will ask the court to establish a West Virginia child support order if none exists. A child support order sets the parameters for child support payments and defines the monthly amount of money owed by the non-custodial parent for the support of a child. In West Virginia, as in most states, the amount of child support is determined by the child support guidelines. The BCSE will also try to establish some sort medical support, such as health benefits, for children who may be eligible.
How Long Must West Virginia Child Support Payments Be Made?
Usually, child support payments are made until the child turns eighteen years of age. But if the child in question is still attending high school, or if he or she is attending a vocational school, the BCSE office may request that court-ordered child support be paid past the age of eighteen.
How Are West Virginia Child Support Payments Made?
All new and modified child support orders must make provisions for child support payments utilizing immediate income withholding. This method authorizes the BCSE office to request the non-custodial parent’s employer to withhold child support payments directly from the parent’s paycheck.
What If The Child’s Other Parent Lives In Another State?
If the child’s other parent lives in another state, West Virginia’s BCSE office can work with the compatible office in the other state to establish and enforce a child support order. Child support payments can still be made via the income withholding method and forwarded directly to the BCSE office, even if the non-custodial parent lives in a state other than West Virginia.
Can The West Virginia Child Support Office Help to Locate a Non-Custodial Parent?
If a non-custodial parent that owes child support cannot be located, then the BCSE can utilize several methods in an effort to locate the missing parent. The BCSE has the right to search for non-custodial parents by using records such as the driver's licenses, vehicle registrations, tax records, and employment security records. Employment security records will allow the BCSE office to determine if a person is on any employer’s payroll in the state of West Virginia. If the non-custodial parent cannot be found in West Virginia, the BCSE office can initiate a nationwide search, utilizing the records from other states to obtain the obligors whereabouts.
West Virginia’s Child Support Amnesty Program
West Virginia’s Child Support Amnesty Program was created by the West Virginia Legislature in an attempt to help parents who owe a large sum of money in child support arrearage get their debt paid off. If both parents agree, all or a portion of the interest that is due on back payments can be forgiven. But in exchange for forgiving this interest, the non-custodial parent must agree to pay off the principal amount of child support arrearage owed within a two-year period. This plan must be approved through the BCSE office and the court system before it can be implemented. And if for some reason, the non-custodial parent cannot pay child support payments according to the agreed upon plan, the full amount of interest owed will be re-instated on the arrearage amount.
Where Can I Learn More About West Virginia Child Support?
West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement
West Virginia Child Support Calculator
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