Lawyers prove things. This is what we do, so when we say we can prove that a deadbeat is part of a clock, why would you doubt us?

For proof, you can watch the enthralling video, “Deadbeat Escapement of Seth Thomas 86 W Clock Movement”1 — or not; don’t say we didn’t warn you (you’ll never get that minute of your life back!). We can handle that kind of a deadbeat, but what about the word’s other meaning? An ex-wife, the mother of your kids, who is a deadbeat? What can you do about a deadbeat mom, exactly?

Statistics on Deadbeat Parents

Deadbeat moms are increasingly common, though still eclipsed by deadbeat Dads, both here in Virginia and nationally. The U.S. Census Bureau has studied this; it says 31.4 percent of custodial fathers had child support agreements or awards in 2014, far lower than the percentage of custodial mothers who had such arrangements (53.1 percent). A significant reason no agreement is filed for custodial dads is that the ex-wife agrees to pay “what she can” when she can, and too many Dads (36.9 percent) accept that.

Dads may be too generous; the Census Bureau tells us that, for 2013, roughly one-quarter (25.9 percent) of custodial parents due child support received no payments from their children’s noncustodial parent.

Who are the dads most likely to get less than their children are due? The Census reports the lowest rates for child support were for custodial parents under 30 years of age, with less than a high school education. If you fit that description, you just might be facing a deadbeat mom.

All of this is to say if you are dealing with a deadbeat mom, you are not alone, and you deserve help.

Legally Handling a Deadbeat: What Can DCSE Do?

Deadbeat is old slang that still means what it did in the 1860s — someone who is a “worthless sponging idler” (now there’s a turn of phrase!). A deadbeat mom refuses to pay child support. The State of Virginia has ordered her to pay you some monthly child support, but she refuses or makes excuses and asks for more time.

You have legal recourse, surely, and should use it. Tell your divorce and child support attorney your ex-wife is refusing to pay the court-ordered payments. Your attorney can contact Virginia’s Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE), which exists to get deadbeat dads and moms to pay what their children deserve. DCSE has the resources and the law to get the job done, though the process may take a lot longer than you would like.

DCSE has many methods for collecting past due and current child support from deadbeat moms. The first line of action will be income withholding. If you know your ex-wife’s employer or even just her Social Security number, DCSE can attack her paycheck, directing funds to you to help raise your children.

Other actions DCSE can take: 

  • File for liens on real property
  • Intercept income tax refunds
  • Report child support debts to credit agencies, adversely affecting her credit
  • Suspend her driver’s or professional license

If necessary, DCSE can help you and your lawyer prepare your case for court action, which can result in your deadbeat ex-wife serving jail time.

What If She Can’t Pay Her Child Support or Stops Working?

Deadbeat Moms can be very creative. In Virginia, as with most other states, the court generally provides a sliding scale of child support payments. If your wife stops working, she could petition the court to lower or eliminate her child support payments. Then the burden shifts entirely to you.

One insider strategy is to entice compliance, and encourage your children’s mother to pay what she can. Yet you should not lose track of what she owes, and neither should she. While you are better off getting a portion, say, of the court-ordered $527 for two children from her $2,000-a-month income (as outlined in Code of Virginia Title 20, Chapter 6, Section 20-108.2) rather than nothing, do keep track of her arrears. If the situation gets bad enough, you and your lawyer can petition the court to compel her to make good on those arrearages.

In the meantime, another insider strategy is to lighten your mental load; “C’est la vie,” French for “That’s life.” You can dwell on her sins or you can focus on your kids until a resolution is reached. Write her off as the deadbeat she is, and be happily surprised when she puts out a little cash toward your children’s future.

For legal help recovering child support payments you and your children deserve, contact The Firm for Men = at 757-383-9184. We can help you with any and all strategies to coax and coerce your ex-wife to stop being a deadbeat mom. If necessary, we can help you prepare a court case against her. Your children deserve all the support they can get, don’t they?

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