To begin the process of enforcing a child support order, you have to request a Rule to Show Cause. You do this in whichever court issued the order. This means both the county and the appropriate level of court, i.e. JDR or circuit. Once you are in the right court, you file the paperwork to being the process with the clerk’s office.
In order to understand why the Show Cause process works the way it does, some behind-the-scenes technical information is helpful. Normally, if you file a case in court it is your case. That means that you decide what you want to ask for, you decide how to advance the case, and you can decide to withdraw the case if you want.
A Rule to Show Cause is different. A “Rule” is just another name for a court order, not unlike a “ruling.” The Rule to Show Cause is a new court order that a judge issues when told that someone has violated a previous order. To begin the process for child support enforcement, then, you file a request for a Rule to Show Cause and an affidavit stating under oath why you think the other parent has violated the child support order. The judge then reads the affidavit and assumes that everything it says it true. With that being the case, the judge decides if it would be a violation of the existing order. If it is, then the judge issues the Rule. If not, the request is simply denied.
With the Rule now issued, the next post will look at the procedures for how it works its way through court.
And now, please enjoy this disclaimer: The content of this post, indeed of all of my posts, is intended to reference only Virginia law. I am writing this blog to give some idea of the complexities that can underlie family law issues in Virginia and in no way am I giving anyone legal advice here. While I hope these posts will be informative, no one should feel entitled to rely on the information presented here as an authoritative source. Anyone facing a legal issue is well advised to speak to a lawyer face to face to discuss the specifics of that case, rather than relying on general information found on the internet.