Only if there’s an income or an asset you can attach. Once child support goes into arrears, it’s a judgement by operation of law in Virginia, and in most other states. Generally, to enforce it, you need to get a paper judgment. You need to go to court and have a court rule that he or she owes you $40,000, and then it’s a judgment like any other that can be collected. It can be garnished against the wages and it can be collected against an asset. If you can find an asset, you can garnish it. Retirement assets, private or civilian, can be garnished for child support and spousal support. The biggest problem with people who move out of the country is that it’s hard to find these assets. If they’ve got a house here, that’s a judgment.
You can file a judgment against it. It’s going to be a lot of work and a lot of pain, but it’s difficult to actually get the money out of them any other way. It’s a crime not to pay child support. If you get them convicted of a crime in absentia, and they put it in the crime computer, when they come back in the country, they’ll get pinged and arrested.
Carolyn Grimes is a family lawyer at the law firm of Wade Grimes Friedman Sutter & Leischner PLLC in Alexandria, Virginia. To learn more about Grimes and her firm, visit www.oldtownlawyers.com.