Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 20. Domestic Relations
8/24/2019

Chapter 5. Desertion and Nonsupport.

§ 20-61. Desertion or nonsupport of wife, husband or children in necessitous circumstances.

Any spouse who without cause deserts or willfully neglects or refuses or fails to provide for the support and maintenance of his or her spouse, and any parent who deserts or willfully neglects or refuses or fails to provide for the support and maintenance of his or her child under the age of eighteen years of age, or child of whatever age who is crippled or otherwise incapacitated from earning a living, the spouse, child or children being then and there in necessitous circumstances, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding $500, or confinement in jail not exceeding twelve months, or both, or on work release employment as provided in § 53.1-131 for a period of not less than ninety days nor more than twelve months; or in lieu of the fine or confinement being imposed upon conviction by the court or by verdict of a jury he or she may be required by the court to suffer a forfeiture of an amount not exceeding the sum of $1,000 and the fine or forfeiture may be directed by the court to be paid in whole or in part to the spouse, or to the guardian, curator, custodian or trustee of the minor child or children, or to some discreet person or responsible organization designated by the court to receive it. This section shall not apply to the parent of a child of whatever age, if the child qualifies for and is receiving aid under a federal or state program for aid to the permanently and totally disabled; or is an adult and meets the visual requirements for aid to the blind; and for this purpose any state agency shall use only the financial resources of the child of whatever age in determining eligibility; however, such parent is subject to prosecution under this section for the desertion or nonsupport of a spouse or of another child who is not receiving such aid.

1944, p. 210; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1936; 1950, p. 613; 1954, c. 481; 1960, c. 275; 1966, c. 360; 1970, c. 284; 1972, cc. 460, 845; 1973, cc. 315, 346; 1974, c. 464; 1975, c. 644; 1976, c. 462; 2010, c. 619.

§ 20-61.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, cc. 866, 878.

§ 20-61.3. Consequences of a putative father failing to appear.

If a putative father fails to appear after having been personally served with notice, in accordance with the provisions of subdivision 1 of § 8.01-296 or § 8.01-320, alleging that he is the father of a minor child, the court shall proceed in hearing the evidence in the case as provided in Chapter 3.1 (§ 20-49.1 et seq.) of Title 20 as if the putative father were present. The order of the court in any such proceedings shall be served upon the father in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 8 (§ 8.01-285 et seq.) or Chapter 9 (§ 8.01-328 et seq.) of Title 8.01.

1988, cc. 867, 894; 1994, c. 869.

§ 20-62. Commitment to workhouse, city farm or work squad for such desertion.

In the event that the cities or counties of this Commonwealth or any of them establish workhouses, city farms or work squads on which prisoners are put to work, persons convicted of nonsupport under the provisions of this chapter may be committed to the farms, workhouses or work squads instead of to jail. Persons sentenced to jail or to a workhouse or city farm under the provisions of this chapter shall be required to do such work as they are capable of in accordance with the opinion of the physician examining such persons pursuant to § 53.1-33 and shall be returned, when released, to the court which exercised original jurisdiction in the case and by that court may be placed on probation upon the terms and conditions and in the manner prescribed by law for probation of original offenders in such cases.

1944, p. 210; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1936; 1954, c. 481; 1970, c. 630; 1978, c. 377.

§ 20-63. Support payments by county or city.

It shall be the duty of the governing body of the county or city within the boundaries of which any work is performed under the provisions of this chapter to allow and order payment at the end of each calendar month, out of the current funds of the county or city, to the Department of Social Services for the support of the prisoner's spouse or child or children, a sum not less than $20 nor more than $40 for each week in the discretion of the court during any part of which any work is so performed by such prisoner.

1944, p. 211; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1936a; 1954, c. 481; 1958, c. 637; 1966, cc. 120, 437; 1974, c. 464; 1978, c. 586; 2016, c. 220.

§ 20-64. Proceedings instituted by petition.

Proceedings under this chapter may be instituted upon petition, verified by oath or affirmation, filed by the spouse or child or by any probation officer or by any state or local law-enforcement officer or by the Department of Social Services upon information received, or by any other person having knowledge of the facts, and the petition shall set forth the facts and circumstances of the case.

1944, p. 211; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1937; 1974, c. 464; 2002, c. 747.

§ 20-65. Summons or warrant; investigation and hearing.

Upon the filing of such petition the court shall forthwith issue its summons or warrant against the spouse or parent and upon its execution may cause an investigation of the case to be made by a probation officer or other person designated for that purpose who shall report thereon to the court, and thereupon the court shall, upon the return date of the warrant or summons, proceed to determine and hear the case on its merits.

1944, p. 211; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1937; 1974, c. 464; 1975, c. 557.

§ 20-66. Contempt proceedings; trial in absence of defendant.

(a) If the person so summoned fails without reasonable cause to appear as herein required, he or she may be proceeded against as for contempt of court and the court may, (1) proceed with the trial of the case in his or her absence and render such judgment as to it seems right and proper, or (2) continue the case to some future date.

(b) If the trial be proceeded with in the absence of the defendant and judgment of conviction be entered against him or her, he or she may, within thirty days after the judgment of conviction is rendered, make application to the court to have the case reopened, and after due notice to the original complainant, for good cause, the court may reopen the case and enter such judgment or order as is right and proper.

1944, p. 211; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1937a; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-67. Jurisdiction.

Proceedings under this chapter shall be had in the juvenile and domestic relations district courts, which shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases arising under this chapter, except that any grand jury of any circuit court may indict for desertion and nonsupport in any case wherein the defendant is a fugitive from the Commonwealth, and any defendant so indicted or presented and apprehended may be tried by the court in which the indictment or presentment is found or, in the discretion of the court, referred to the juvenile and domestic relations district court.

1944, p. 212; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1937c; 1974, c. 464; 1975, c. 644.

§ 20-68. Appeal.

The person accused shall have the same right of appeal as provided by law in other similar cases; provided that any order of court requiring support of a spouse or children shall remain in full force and effect until reversed or modified by judgment of a superior court, and in the interim the order shall be enforceable by the court entering it and the court may punish for violation of the order as for contempt. After the judgment of conviction and entry of order of support from which no appeal is taken the hearing in the appellate court on an appeal from any subsequent order, modification or amendment shall be restricted to the particular matter or order appealed from.

1944, p. 212; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1937c; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-69. Fees of officers.

The officers acting under this chapter shall be entitled to the same fees as are now or hereafter allowed in misdemeanor cases.

1944, p. 212; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1937c; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-70. No warrant of arrest to issue.

Except as otherwise in this chapter provided, no warrant of arrest shall be issued by a magistrate against any person within the terms of this chapter, but all proceedings shall be instituted upon petition as aforesaid, provided that upon affidavit of the spouse or other person that there is reasonable cause to believe that the spouse or parent is about to leave the jurisdiction of the court with intent to desert the spouse, child or children, the court of, or any magistrate serving, the city or county may issue a warrant for the spouse or parent returnable before the court.

1944, p. 211; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1937b; 1974, c. 464; 1975, c. 644; 2008, cc. 551, 691.

§ 20-71. Temporary orders for support.

At any time before the trial, upon motion of the complainant, with notice to the defendant, the court may enter such temporary order as seems just, providing for the support of the neglected spouse or children, or both, pendente lite, and may punish for violation of the order as for contempt.

1944, p. 212; Michie Suppl. 1946, § 1938; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-71.1. Attorneys' fees in proceedings under § 20-71.

In any proceeding by a spouse petitioning under § 20-71 before the juvenile and domestic relations district court or on appeal before a court of record, to be allowed support for himself or herself or the infant child or children of the defendant, the juvenile and domestic relations district court may direct the defendant, in addition to the allowance to the spouse and support and maintenance for the infant children, to pay to the spouse's attorney, upon such terms and conditions and in such time as the court shall deem reasonable, an attorney's fee deemed reasonable by the court for such services as said attorney before said court. Upon appeal of the matter to a court of record, the judge of the circuit court may direct that the defendant, in addition to the fees allowed to the spouse's attorney by the juvenile and domestic relations district court, pay to the spouse's attorney at such time and upon such terms and conditions as the judge deems reasonable, an attorney's fee deemed reasonable by the court for such services of said attorney before said court of record, but in fixing said fee such court shall take into consideration the fee or fees directed to be paid by the court from which said appeal was taken.

1950, p. 741; 1974, c. 464; 1975, c. 644.

§ 20-72. Probation on order directing defendant to pay and enter recognizance.

Before the trial, with the consent of the defendant, or at the trial on entry of a plea of guilty, or after conviction, instead of imposing the penalties hereinbefore provided, or in addition thereto, the judge, in his discretion, having regard to the circumstances of the case and to the financial ability or earning capacity of the defendant, shall have the power to make an order, directing the defendant to pay a certain sum or a certain percentage of his or her earnings periodically, either directly or through the court to the spouse or to the guardian, curator or custodian of such minor child or children, or to an organization or individual designated by the court as trustee, and to suspend sentence and release the defendant from custody on probation, upon his or her entering into a recognizance with or without surety, in such sum as the court may order and approve.

Code 1919, § 1939; 1932, p. 466; 1940, p. 476; 1952, c. 692; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-73. Condition of the recognizance.

The condition of the recognizance shall be such that if the defendant shall make his or her personal appearance in court upon such date as may be specified by the court, or whenever, in the meantime, he or she may be ordered so to do, and shall further comply with the terms of such order, or any subsequent modification or amendment thereof, then such recognizance shall be void, otherwise in full force and effect.

Code 1919, § 1939; 1932, p. 466; 1940, p. 477.

§ 20-74. Support orders to remain in effect until annulled; modification.

Any order of support or amendment thereof entered under the provisions of this chapter shall remain in full force and effect until annulled by the court of original jurisdiction, or the court to which an appeal may be taken; however, such order of support or terms of probation shall be subject to change or modification by the court from time to time, as circumstances may require, but no such change or modification shall affect or relieve the surety of his or her obligation under such recognizance, provided notice thereof be forthwith given to such surety. No support order may be retroactively modified, but may be modified with respect to any period during which there is a pending petition for modification in any court, but only from the date that notice of such petition has been given to the responding party.

Code 1919, § 1939; 1932, p. 467; 1940, p. 477; 1975, c. 644; 1987, c. 649; 2004, c. 204.

§ 20-75. Procedure when accused outside territorial jurisdiction.

Whenever the accused is outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court, instead of requiring his or her arrest and personal appearance before the court, the court may allow the accused to accept service of the process or warrant and enter a written plea of guilty. The court may thereupon proceed as if the accused were present and enter such order of support as may be just and proper, requiring the accused to enter into the recognizance hereinbefore mentioned. For the purposes of this chapter the court may authorize the entering into of such recognizance outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court before such official of the place where the accused or his or her surety may be and under such conditions and subject to such stipulations and requirements as the court may direct and approve. The provisions of this chapter as to the entering into of recognizances outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court shall likewise apply to any renewal of any recognizance heretofore or hereafter entered into in any desertion and nonsupport case.

Code 1919, § 1939; 1932, p. 467; 1940, p. 477; 1975, c. 644.

§ 20-76. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-77. When authority to suspend sentence may be exercised; deduction of certain time from sentence.

The authority of the court to suspend sentences under §§ 20-72 to 20-79 may be exercised at any time after conviction and before the completion of the sentence, and as often as the court may deem advisable and to the best interests of the parties, provided that such period or periods of time as may be actually served by the defendant shall be allowed against and deducted from the original sentence.

Code 1919, § 1939; 1932, p. 467; 1940, p. 477; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-78. Continuance of failure to support after completion of sentence.

Any person sentenced under §§ 20-72 to 20-79 who, after the completion of such sentence, shall continue in his or her failure, without just cause, adequately to support his or her spouse or children, as the case may be, may again be sentenced on the original petition, as for a new offense, in the same manner and under like conditions as herein provided, and so on from time to time, as often as such failure or failures shall occur.

Code 1919, § 1939; 1932, p. 467; 1940, p. 478; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-78.1. Effect of entry of support order in certain garnishment proceedings.

A. A judgment for arrearage, or an order or decree of support for a spouse or support and maintenance of a child or children entered under the provisions of this chapter or §§ 16.1-278.15 through 16.1-278.18, 20-103 and 20-107.1 through 20-109 may be enforced in any garnishment proceeding in which the liability is against the United States of America.

B. Except as otherwise provided herein, the provisions of Article 7 (§ 8.01-511 et seq.) of Chapter 18 of Title 8.01 shall govern such garnishment. Any garnishment under the provisions of this section shall continue until modified by the issuing court, or in the case of an arrearage, until the sum or sums of money found to be in arrears are paid in full.

C. The provisions of this section shall apply to arrearages accumulated prior to and after July 1, 1976.

1976, c. 659; 1978, c. 736; 1980, c. 102; 1987, c. 597; 1991, c. 534; 1999, c. 577.

§ 20-78.2. Attorneys' fees and interest on support arrearage.

The entry of an order or decree of support for a spouse or for support and maintenance of a child under the provisions of this chapter or §§ 20-107.1 through 20-109 shall constitute a final judgment for any sum or sums in arrears. This order shall also include an amount for interest on the arrearage at the judgment interest rate as established by § 6.2-302 unless the obligee, in a writing submitted to the court, waives the collection of interest; and may include reasonable attorneys' fees if the total arrearage for support and maintenance, excluding interest, is equal to or greater than three months of support and maintenance.

1983, c. 488; 1987, c. 190; 1995, c. 483; 2005, c. 880.

§ 20-79. Effect of divorce proceedings.

(a) In any case where an order has been entered under the provisions of this chapter, directing either party to pay any sum or sums of money for the support of his or her spouse, or concerning the care, custody or maintenance of any child, or children, the jurisdiction of the court which entered such order shall cease and its orders become inoperative upon the entry of a decree by the court or the judge thereof in vacation in a suit for divorce instituted in any circuit court in this Commonwealth having jurisdiction thereof, in which decree provision is made for support and maintenance for the spouse or concerning the care, custody or maintenance of a child or children, or concerning any matter provided in a decree in the divorce proceedings in accordance with the provisions of § 20-103.

(b) In any suit for divorce, the court in which the suit is instituted or pending, when either party to the proceedings so requests, shall provide in its decree for the maintenance, support, care or custody of the child or children in accordance with Chapter 6.1 (§ 20-124.1 et seq.), support and maintenance for the spouse, if the same be sought, and counsel fees and other costs, if in the judgment of the court any or all of the foregoing should be so decreed.

(c) Enforcement of orders. In any suit for divorce or suit for maintenance and support, the court may after a hearing, pendente lite, or in any decree of divorce a mensa et thoro, decree of divorce a vinculo matrimonii, final decree for maintenance and support, or subsequent decree in such suit, transfer to the juvenile and domestic relations district court the enforcement of its orders pertaining to support and maintenance for the spouse, maintenance, support, care and custody of the child or children.

Transfer of case for modification. After the entry of a decree of divorce a vinculo matrimonii the court may transfer to the juvenile and domestic relations district court any other matters pertaining to support and maintenance for the spouse, maintenance, support, care and custody of the child or children on motion by either party, and may so transfer such matters before the entry of such decree on motion joined in by both parties. A court shall not (i) transfer a case for modification to the juvenile and domestic relations district court in the absence of a motion by either party or (ii) require a provision for transfer of matters for modification to the juvenile and domestic relations district court as a condition of entry of a decree of divorce a vinculo matrimonii.

Change of venue. In the transfer of any matters referred to herein, the court may, upon the motion of any party, or on its own motion, and for good cause shown, transfer any matters covered by said decree or decrees to any circuit court or juvenile and domestic relations district court within the Commonwealth that constitutes a more appropriate forum. An appeal of an order by such juvenile and domestic relations district court which is to enforce or modify the decree in the divorce suit shall be as provided in § 16.1-296.

Code 1919, § 1939; 1940, p. 478; 1960, c. 76; 1964, c. 636; 1970, c. 459; 1974, cc. 464, 473; 1975, c. 644; 1976, c. 345; 1977, c. 71; 1988, c. 502; 1994, c. 769; 2018, c. 254.

§ 20-79.1. Enforcement of support orders; income deduction; penalty for wrongful discharge.

A. As part of any order directing a person to pay child support, except for initial orders entered pursuant to § 20-79.2, or spousal support pursuant to this chapter or §§ 16.1-278.15 through 16.1-278.18, 20-103, 20-107.2 or § 20-109.1, or by separate order at any time thereafter, a court of competent jurisdiction may order a person's employer to deduct from the amounts due or payable to such person, the entitlement to which is based upon income as defined in § 63.2-1900, the amount of current support due and an amount to be applied to arrearages, if any. The terms "employer" and "income" shall have the meanings prescribed in § 63.2-1900. The court shall order such income deductions (i) if so provided in a stipulation or contract signed by the party ordered to pay such support and filed with the pleadings or depositions, (ii) upon receipt of a notice of arrearages in a case in which an order has been entered pursuant to § 20-60.3, or (iii) upon a finding that the respondent is in arrears for an amount equal to one month's support obligation. The court may, in its discretion, order such payroll deduction (a) based upon the obligor's past financial responsibility, history of prior payments pursuant to any such support order, and any other matter which the court considers relevant in determining the likelihood of payment in accordance with the support order or (b) at the request of the obligor.

B. Any income deduction order shall be entered upon motion and concurrent proper notice sent by the clerk or counsel. The notice shall cite this section. If the notice is sent by the clerk, it shall be served in accordance with the provisions of § 8.01-296 or 8.01-329, or sent by certified mail or by electronic means, including facsimile transmission, to the employer. An employer paying wages subject to deduction shall deliver the notice to the person ordered to pay such support.

The notice shall advise the obligor (i) of the amount proposed to be withheld, (ii) that the order of the court will apply to current and future income, (iii) of the right to contest the order, (iv) that the obligor must file a written notice of contest of such deduction with the court within 10 days of the date of issuance of the notice, (v) that if the notice is contested, a hearing will be held and a decision rendered within 10 days from the receipt of the notice of contest by the court, unless good cause is shown for additional time, which shall in no event exceed forty-five days from receipt of the notice by the obligor, (vi) that only disputes as to mistakes of fact as defined in § 63.2-1900 will be heard, (vii) that any order for income deduction entered will state when the deductions will start and the information that will be provided to the person's employer, and (viii) that payment of overdue support upon receipt of the notice shall not be a bar to the implementation of withholding.

Whenever the obligor and the obligee agree to income deductions in a contract or stipulation, the obligor shall be deemed to have waived notice as required in this subsection and the deduction shall be ordered only upon the stipulation or contract being approved by the court.

C. The income deduction order of the court shall by its terms direct the clerk to issue an order in accordance with § 20-79.3 to any employer and, if required, to each future employer, as necessary to implement the order. The order shall cite this section as authority for the entry of the order.

D. The rights and responsibilities of employers with respect to income deduction orders are set out in § 20-79.3.

E. The order to the employer pursuant to this section shall be effective when a certified copy thereof has been served upon or sent to the employer by electronic means, including facsimile transmission. A copy shall be provided to the employee by the employer. If the employer is a corporation, such service shall be accomplished as is provided in § 8.01-513.

F. Any order issued pursuant to this section shall be promptly terminated or modified, as appropriate, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing for the parties when (i) the whereabouts of the children entitled to support and their custodian become unknown, or (ii) the support obligation to an obligee ceases. Any such order shall be promptly modified, as appropriate, when arrearages have been paid in full.

G. The Department of Social Services may charge an obligee an appropriate fee when complying with an order entered under this section sufficient to cover the Department's cost.

H. If a court of competent jurisdiction in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia has ordered a person to pay child support, a court of competent jurisdiction in this Commonwealth, upon motion, notice and opportunity for a hearing as provided in this section, shall enter an income deduction order, conforming with § 20-79.3 as provided in this section. The rights and responsibilities of the employer with respect to the order are set out in § 20-79.3. Similar orders of the courts of this Commonwealth may be enforced in a similar manner in such other state, territory or district.

I. The court or clerk shall attempt to ascertain the obligor's pay period interval prior to service of the clerk's order. If, after the order is served, the employer replies to the court that the pay period interval in the income deduction order differs from the obligor's pay period interval, the clerk shall convert the single monetary amount in the income deduction order to an equivalent single monetary amount for the obligor's pay period interval pursuant to a formula approved by the Committee on District Courts. The equivalent single monetary amount shall be contained in a new order issued by the clerk and served on the employer and which conforms to § 20-79.3.

J. If the Department of Social Services or the Department's designee receives payments deducted from income of the obligor pursuant to more than one judicial order or a combination of judicial and administrative orders, the Department or the Department's designee shall first allocate such payments among the obligees under such orders with priority given to payment of the order for current support. Where payments are received pursuant to two or more orders for current support, the Department or the Department's designee shall prorate the payments received on the basis of the amounts due under each such order. Upon satisfaction of any amounts due for current support the Department or the Department's designee shall prorate the remainder of the payments received on the basis of amounts due under any orders for accrued arrearages.

1982, c. 298; 1983, c. 481; 1985, c. 488; 1986, c. 594; 1987, cc. 658, 706; 1988, c. 906; 1990, c. 896; 1991, c. 534; 1997, cc. 648, 663; 1998, c. 727; 2018, c. 707.

§ 20-79.2. Immediate income deduction; income withholding.

Every initial order entered on or after July 1, 1995, directing a person to pay child support shall include a provision for immediate withholding from the income of the obligor for the amount of the support order, plus an amount for the liquidation of arrearages, if any, unless the obligor and either the obligee or the Department on behalf of the obligee, agree in writing to an alternative payment arrangement or one of the parties demonstrates and the court finds good cause for not imposing immediate withholding. In determining whether good cause is shown, the court shall consider the obligor's past financial responsibility, history of prior payment under any support order, and any other matter that the court considers relevant to the likelihood of payment in accordance with the support order. An alternative payment arrangement may include but is not limited to, a voluntary income assignment pursuant to § 20-79.1 or § 63.2-1945.

An order which modifies an initial order may include a provision for immediate income withholding.

The total amount withheld shall not exceed the maximum amount permitted under § 34-29.

A withholding order issued to an obligor's employer pursuant to this section shall conform to § 20-79.3. The rights and obligations of the employer with respect to the order are set out in § 20-79.3. The order shall direct the employer to forward payments to the Department for recording and disbursement to the obligee, or as otherwise required by law. The Department shall not charge a fee for recording and disbursing payments when it is providing support enforcement services to the obligee pursuant to § 63.2-1904 or § 63.2-1908.

1988, c. 906; 1990, cc. 836, 896; 1991, c. 534; 1995, c. 714; 1998, c. 727.

§ 20-79.3. Information required in income deduction order.

A. Orders for withholding from the income of an employee shall state and include the following:

1. The name and correct social security number of the obligor and the name and correct address of the payee;

2. That the employer shall withhold and pay out of the disposable income as defined in § 63.2-100, a single monetary amount or the maximum amount permitted under § 34-29, whichever is less, for each regular pay period of the obligor and payment may be by check. The terms "employer" and "income" shall have the meanings prescribed in § 63.2-1900;

3. That the income deduction shall begin with the next regular pay period of the obligor following service of the order on the employer, and payment shall be made at regular intervals consistent with the pay periods of the obligor;

4. A statement of the maximum percentage under § 34-29 which may be withheld from the obligor's disposable income;

5. That, to the extent required by the provisions for health care coverage contained in the order, the employer shall (i) enroll the employee, the employee's spouse or former spouse and the employee's dependent children listed in the order as covered persons in a group health insurance plan or other similar plan providing health care services or coverage offered by the employer, without regard to enrollment season restrictions, if the subject spouse, former spouse or children are eligible for such coverage under the employer's enrollment provisions, and (ii) deduct any required premiums from the employee's income to pay for the insurance. If more than one plan is offered by the employer, the spouse, former spouse or children shall be enrolled prospectively in the insurance plan in which the employee is enrolled or, if the employee is not enrolled, in the least costly plan otherwise available. The employer shall also enroll the children of an employee in the appropriate health coverage plan upon application by the children's other parent or legal guardian or upon application by the Department of Medical Assistance Services. In each case which is being enforced by the Department of Social Services, the employer shall respond to such orders by advising the Department in which plan the children are enrolled or if the children are ineligible for any plan through the employer. The order to the employer shall specify either support withholdings or insurance premium deductions as having priority for the duration of the order in the event the maximum total deduction permitted at any time by § 34-29 is insufficient to fully cover both; the employer shall consider and direct insurance premium deductions and support withholdings the same for purposes of § 34-29. The employer shall not be held liable for any medical expenses incurred on behalf of the spouse, former spouse or dependent children because of the employer's failure to enroll the spouse, former spouse or dependent children in a health care plan after being directed to do so by a court or the Department. The employer shall not be obligated to subsequently make or change such enrollment if the group health insurance plan or other factors change after the spouse's, former spouse's or child's eligibility or ineligibility for coverage is initially determined in response to the order for withholding. However, the employer shall not disenroll such children unless the employer (i) is provided satisfactory written evidence that such court or administrative order is no longer in effect, (ii) is provided satisfactory written evidence that the children are or will be enrolled in a comparable health coverage plan which will take effect not later than the effective date of such disenrollment, or (iii) has eliminated family health coverage for all of its employees. A one-time fee of no more than five dollars may be charged by the employer to the employee for the administration of this requirement;

6. That a fee of five dollars for each reply or remittance on account of the obligor may be charged by the employer and withheld from the obligor's income in addition to the support amount to be withheld; however, child support withholding amounts collected from unemployment insurance benefits shall not be subject to this fee;

7. That the order is binding upon the employer and obligor and withholding is to continue until further notice by order of the court or the Department is served, or the obligor is no longer employed, whichever occurs first;

8. That the order shall have priority over any other types of liens created by state law against such income, except that if there is more than one court or administrative order for withholding for support against an obligor, the employer shall prorate among the orders based upon the current amounts due pursuant to more than one judicial or administrative order or a combination thereof, with any remaining amounts prorated among the accrued arrearages, if any, to the extent that the amounts withheld, when combined, do not exceed the maximum limits imposed under § 34-29 as specified in the order being honored;

9. That the obligor's rights are protected pursuant to § 63.2-1944 and that no employer shall discharge any employee, take disciplinary action against an employee, or refuse to employ a person by reason of the fact that his income has been made subject to a deduction pursuant to Chapter 19 (§ 63.2-1900 et seq.) of Title 63.2 or § 20-79.1 or 20-79.2 and an employer who discharges or takes disciplinary action against an employee, or refuses to employ any person because of an order for withholding under these sections shall be liable for a civil fine of not more than $1,000;

10. The address to which the withholding is to be sent at the Department of Social Services and the case number, if available;

11. That the employer shall be liable for payments which he fails to withhold or mail as specified in the order;

12. That employers shall remit payments on each regular pay date of the obligor or, if electronic funds transfer is used, within four days of the pay date, directly to the Division of Child Support Enforcement for disbursement. All employers with at least 100 employees and all payroll processing firms with at least 50 clients shall remit payments by electronic funds transfer;

13. That the employer shall be deemed to have complied with the order by (i) mailing on each regular pay date of the obligor to the Department, by first-class mail, any amount required to be deducted or (ii) by submitting such amounts by electronic funds transfer transmitted within fours days of the obligor's regular pay date;

14. That the employer and obligor shall notify the Department promptly when the obligor terminates employment and shall provide the last known address of the obligor and name and address of the new employer, if known;

15. That amounts withheld from multiple employees identified as such by (i) amount, (ii) name, (iii) social security number, (iv) case number if provided in the order, and (v) date payment was withheld from obligor's income, may be combined into a single payment when payable to the same payee;

16. No order or directive shall require employers of 10,000 or more employees to make payments other than by combined single payment to the Department's central office in Richmond, without the employer's express written consent, unless the order is from a support enforcement agency outside the Commonwealth;

17. Payment pursuant to an order issued under this section shall serve as full acquittance of the employer under any contract of employment;

18. Notice that any employer who fails to timely withhold payments pursuant to this section shall be liable for any amount not timely withheld;

19. That the employer shall provide to the employee a copy of the withholding order and the notice to the employee sent by the court.

B. If the employer receives an order that (i) does not contain the obligor's correct social security number, (ii) does not specify a single monetary amount to be withheld per regular pay period interval of the obligor, (iii) does not state the maximum percentage which may be withheld pursuant to § 34-29, (iv) contains information which is in conflict with the employer's current payroll records, or (v) orders payment to an entity other than to the Department of Social Services or the Department's designee, the employer may deposit in the mail or otherwise file a reply to that effect within five business days from service of such order. The order shall be void from transmission or filing of such reply unless the court or the Department, as applicable, finds that the reply is materially false. In addition, an employer of 10,000 or more persons may also file a reply, with like effect, if payment is ordered other than by combined single payment in the case of withholdings from multiple employees to the Department's central office in Richmond, without the employer's express written consent, unless the order is from a support enforcement agency outside the Commonwealth.

1990, c. 896; 1991, cc. 651, 694; 1994, c. 767; 1996, c. 416; 1998, c. 727; 2001, c. 209; 2006, c. 365; 2007, c. 557.

§ 20-80. Violation of orders; trial; forfeiture of recognizance.

If at any time the court may be satisfied by information and due proof that the defendant has violated the terms of such order, it may forthwith proceed with the trial of the defendant under the original charge, or sentence him or her, under the original conviction, or annul suspension of sentence, and enforce such sentence, or in its discretion may extend or renew the term of probation as the case may be. Upon due proof that the terms of such order have been violated, the court shall in any event have the power to declare the recognizance forfeited, the sum or sums thereon to be paid, in the discretion of the court, in whole or in part to the defendant's spouse, or to the guardian, curator, custodian or trustee of the minor child or children, or to an organization or individual designated by the court to receive the same.

Code 1919, § 1940; 1918, p. 761; 1922, p. 846; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-81. Presumptions as to desertion and abandonment.

Proof of desertion or of neglect of spouse, child or children by any person shall be prima facie evidence that such desertion or neglect is willful; and proof that a person has left his or her spouse, or his or her child or children in destitute or necessitous circumstances, or has contributed nothing to their support for a period of thirty days prior or subsequent either or both to his or her departure, shall constitute prima facie evidence of an intention to abandon such family.

Code 1919, § 1941; 1918, p. 761; 1922, p. 846; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-82. Husband and wife competent as witnesses.

In every prosecution under this chapter both husband and wife shall be competent witnesses to testify against each other in all relevant matters, including the facts of such marriage, provided that neither shall be compelled to give evidence incriminating himself or herself.

Code 1919, § 1941; 1918, p. 761; 1922, p. 846.

§ 20-83. Venue of offense.

Any offense under this chapter shall be held to have been committed in any county or city in which such spouse, child or children may be at the time of desertion, or in which such child or children may be or remain, with the knowledge and acquiescence of the accused, in destitute or necessitous condition, or where the accused shall be found in this Commonwealth.

Code 1919, § 1942; 1918, p. 761; 1922, p. 846; 1975, c. 644.

§ 20-83.1. Transfer of cases between courts in certain instances.

(a) In the event that a spouse or dependent child has left the jurisdiction of the court in which the original petition was filed, but is still within the Commonwealth, and the accused is not within the jurisdiction embraced by such court, on motion of the spouse or child, or accused or the person having custody of such child, the court in which the original petition was filed may transfer the case to the court having original jurisdiction to hear such petitions in the county or city in this Commonwealth in which the spouse or child or accused resides. The court to which such case has been transferred shall have power to enforce such orders and decrees as may have been made in the court transferring the case as though the petition had been originally filed therein, and to make such other orders and decrees as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

(b) In the event that an appeal is pending in a court of record in this Commonwealth from the decision of any court having jurisdiction to hear such petitions, upon motion of the spouse or child, or the person having custody of the child, stating that such spouse or child no longer resides within the jurisdiction of such court of record, such court, upon reaching its decision, may transfer the case to the court having original jurisdiction to hear such petitions in the county or city in which the spouse or child resides in the same manner and to the same effect as provided in subsection (a) hereof.

1964, c. 12; 1974, c. 464.

§ 20-84. Extradition.

Whenever the judge of, or magistrate serving, the jurisdiction wherein such offense is alleged to have been committed shall, after an investigation of the facts and circumstances thereof, certify that in his opinion the charge is well founded and the case a proper one for extradition, or in any case if the cost of extradition is borne by the parties interested in the case, the person charged with having left the Commonwealth with the intention of evading the terms of his or her probation or of abandoning or deserting his or her spouse, or his or her child or children, or failing to support them, shall be apprehended and brought back to the county or city having jurisdiction of the case in accordance with the law providing for the apprehension and return to the Commonwealth of fugitives from justice, and upon conviction punished as hereinabove provided.

Code 1919, § 1942; 1918, p. 761; 1922, p. 846; 1974, c. 464; 2008, cc. 551, 691.

§ 20-85. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, c. 495.

§ 20-87. Arrest for violating directions, rules or regulations given by judge.

Whenever the chief of police or sheriff becomes satisfied that such person is violating the directions, rules or regulations given or prescribed by the judge for his or her conduct, such chief of police or sheriff shall have authority to arrest such person after a proper capias or warrant has been issued for such person and forthwith carry him before the court before whom he or she was first brought.

Code 1919, § 1944; 1918, p. 762; 1922, p. 847; 1974, c. 464; 1975, c. 644; 1988, c. 495.

§ 20-87.1. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2003, c. 467.

§ 20-88. Support of parents by children.

It shall be the joint and several duty of all persons eighteen years of age or over, of sufficient earning capacity or income, after reasonably providing for his or her own immediate family, to assist in providing for the support and maintenance of his or her mother or father, he or she being then and there in necessitous circumstances.

If there be more than one person bound to support the same parent or parents, the persons so bound to support shall jointly and severally share equitably in the discharge of such duty. Taking into consideration the needs of the parent or parents and the circumstances affecting the ability of each person to discharge the duty of support, the court having jurisdiction shall have the power to determine and order the payment, by such person or persons so bound to support, of that amount for support and maintenance which to the court may seem just. Where the court ascertains that any person has failed to render his or her proper share in such support and maintenance it may, upon the complaint of any party or on its own motion, compel contribution by that person to any person or authority which has theretofore contributed to the support or maintenance of the parent or parents. The court may from time to time revise the orders entered by it or by any other court having jurisdiction under the provisions of this section, in such manner as to it may seem just.

The juvenile and domestic relations district court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases arising under this section. Any person aggrieved shall have the same right of appeal as is provided by law in other cases.

All proceedings under this section shall conform as nearly as possible to the proceedings under the other provisions of this chapter, and the other provisions of this chapter shall apply to cases arising under this section in like manner as though they were incorporated in this section. Prosecutions under this section shall be in the jurisdiction where the parent or parents reside.

This section shall not apply if there is substantial evidence of desertion, neglect, abuse or willful failure to support any such child by the father or mother, as the case may be, prior to the child's emancipation or, except as provided hereafter in this section, if a parent is otherwise eligible for and is receiving public assistance or services under a federal or state program.

To the extent that the financial responsibility of children for any part of the costs incurred in providing medical assistance to their parents pursuant to the plan provided for in § 32.1-325 is not restricted by that plan and to the extent that the financial responsibility of children for any part of the costs incurred in providing to their parents services rendered, administered or funded by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is not restricted by federal law, the provisions of this section shall apply. A proceeding may be instituted in accordance with this section in the name of the Commonwealth by the state agency administering the program of assistance or services in order to compel any child of a parent receiving such assistance or services to reimburse the Commonwealth for such portion of the costs incurred in providing the assistance or services as the court may determine to be reasonable. If costs are incurred for the institutionalization of a parent, the children shall in no case be responsible for such costs for more than sixty months of institutionalization.

Any person violating the provisions of an order entered pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment in jail for a period not exceeding twelve months or both.

1920, p. 413; 1922, p. 544; 1928, p. 745; 1942, p. 406; Michie Code 1942, § 1944a; 1952, c. 510; 1954, c. 481; 1962, c. 557; 1968, c. 665; 1970, c. 278; 1974, c. 657; 1975, c. 644; 1982, c. 472; 1984, c. 781; 2009, cc. 813, 840.

§ 20-88.01. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1992, c. 662.

§ 20-88.02. Transfer of assets to qualify for assistance; liability of transferees.

A. As used in this section, "uncompensated value" means the aggregate amount by which the fair market value of all property or resources, including fractional interests, transferred by any transferor after the effective date of and subject to this section, exceeds the aggregate consideration received for such property or resources.

B. Within thirty months prior to the date on which any person receives benefits from any program of public assistance or social services as defined in § 63.2-100, if such person has transferred any property or resources resulting in uncompensated value, the transferee of such property or resources shall be liable to repay the Commonwealth for benefits paid on behalf of the transferor up to the amount of that uncompensated value less $25,000.

C. In their discretion, the heads of the agencies which administer the appropriate program or programs of public assistance may petition the circuit court having jurisdiction over the property or over the transferee for an order requiring repayment. That order shall continue in effect, as the court may determine, for so long as the transferor receives public assistance or until the uncompensated value is completely repaid. With respect to all transfers subject to this section, a rebuttable presumption is created that the transferee acted with the intent and for the purpose of assisting the transferor to qualify for public assistance. If the presumption is rebutted, this section shall not apply and the petition shall be dismissed.

D. After reasonable investigation, the agency or agencies administering the program of public assistance shall not file any petition, and no court shall order payments under subsection B of this section if it is determined that: (i) the uncompensated value of the property transferred is $25,000 or less, (ii) that the property transferred was the home of the transferor at the time of the transfer and the transferor or any of the following individuals reside in the home: the transferor's spouse, any natural or adopted child of the transferor under the age of twenty-one years or any natural or adopted child of the transferor, regardless of age, who is blind or disabled as defined by the federal Social Security Act or the Virginia Medicaid Program, or (iii) the transferee is without financial means or that such payment would work a hardship on the transferee or his family. If the transferee does not fully cooperate with the investigating agency to determine the nature and extent of the hardship, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that no hardship exists.

1992, c. 662; 2002, c. 747.

§ 20-88.02:1. Limitations on spousal support orders resulting in eligibility for medical assistance services; definitions.

A. Whenever any court shall determine that any petition for a spousal support order will have the effect of rendering either spouse eligible for medical assistance services or for accelerating eligibility for medical assistance services, and the community spouse is asking for additional resources which will bring his total resources to an amount in excess of the federally established maximum spousal resource allowance:

1. The court shall not enter the requested spousal support order unless the court first orders the institutionalized spouse to make available the maximum income contribution to the community spouse.

2. The court must ascertain, when determining additional income in excess of the federally established community spouse minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance, that the increase is necessary due to exceptional circumstances resulting in significant financial duress to the community spouse.

3. When determining the amount of any additional resources to be allowed to raise the community spouse's income up to either the federally established community spouse minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance or in excess of such minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance, the amount of such additional resources to be allowed shall be the greater of (i) those additional resources necessary to generate an amount sufficient to increase the community spouse's income to the applicable monthly needs or income allowance, as the case may be when based on the current earnings of such resources or (ii) the amount necessary, at the time of the court's deliberations, to purchase a single premium annuity that would generate monthly income to the community spouse in an amount sufficient to increase the community spouse's income to the applicable monthly needs or income allowance, as the case may be.

B. For the purpose of making the determinations required by this section:

"Community spouse" means the spouse of an individual residing in a medical institution or nursing facility.

"Federally established maximum spousal resource allowance" means that amount established as the maximum spousal resource allowance in 42 U.S.C. 1396r-5 (f) (2) (A) as adjusted annually in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1396r-5 (g).

"Institutionalized spouse" means an individual who has been residing in a medical institution or nursing facility for at least thirty consecutive days and who is married to an individual who is not residing in a medical institution or nursing facility.

"Significant financial duress" means, but is not limited to, threatened loss of basic shelter, food or medically necessary health care or the financial burden of caring for a disabled child, sibling or other immediate relative.

1994, cc. 836, 952.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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