Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine and Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced Friday that the Commonwealth of Virginia has sued Supportkids, Inc., a private child-support-collection company based in Texas. In filing this suit, Virginia seeks to prevent Supportkids from interfering with the orderly enforcement of child support obligations in Virginia.
“Any actions that impede the Commonwealth’s efforts to lawfully and fairly collect child support must be addressed,” says Kaine.
Under Virginia law, child support payments must be routed through the Division of Child Support Enforcement. This process ensures that both parents are given credit for supporting their children.
The Commonwealth believes that Supportkids interferes with the orderly enforcement of support obligations and tracking of support payments in the following ways:
- Supportkids, Inc. sends wage-withholding notices to employers of noncustodial parents. In these documents, the company refers to itself as “Child Support Enforcement,” a name easily confused with Virginia’s “Division of Child Support Enforcement.”
- Supportkids, Inc. also directs, unlawfully, the employer to send payments directly to the company’s office in Texas, rather than to Virginia’s DCSE.
- It then charges the custodial parent a 34 percent fee before forwarding the remainder of the payment to the custodial parent, regardless of whether it has undertaken any work on behalf of the parent to collect such payments.
McDonnell observed that SupportKids’ practice has disrupted DCSE’s coordinated system for enforcing child support. There are noncustodial parents who are not being credited for the support they pay to their children. Some noncustodial parents are improperly having wages withheld by two withholding orders: one obtained through the DCSE and one through Supportkids, Inc.
“Most importantly, custodial children are not receiving the full support payments to which they are entitled under Virginia law,” says McDonnell.
The Commonwealth does not oppose the use of private child-support collection agencies. However, when those companies threaten the interests of Virginia's children and disrupt the Commonwealth’s system for enforcing support obligations, it will take action to protect its citizens.
Kaine commended Virginia’s child support enforcement professionals who collected more than $608 million last year for 484,000 children who are owed child support.