Bad News For Deadbeat Dads: Virginia’s Coming For You

by Kerry Dougherty

One of the first things Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares did after arriving in Richmond was meet with various departments in the AG’s office.

“I asked, ‘Do you have all of the tools to do your job with excellence?” Miyares recalled Wednesday morning on the “Kerry and Mike” morning radio show on WNIS.

The new attorney general was stunned by some of the answers.

Especially the responses from the lawyers in the Child Support Division. Attorneys there told him they wanted to vigorously prosecute deadbeat parents — read, dads — but that blanket dismissals of cases had taken place last year in the name of “fairness and equity.”

Looks like more misplaced compassion by those who brought us the parole board scandal. Seems Virginia paid a high price for the squishy bleeding hearts that ran state government during the Ralph Northam/Mark Herring years.

“There was no fairness for the mothers,” said Miyares pointedly.

That’s an understatement.

In fact, the new AG found 1,108 cases of deadbeats that had been shelved, despite their failure to pay court-ordered child support.

Is there a lower form of humanity than a parent who refuses to support his kids?

The office of the attorney general has about 40 lawyers around the commonwealth who act as legal counsel for the Division of Child Support Enforcement of the Virginia Department of Social Services.

According to the AG’s office, these lawyers appear “in both state and federal courts to determine paternity and to establish, modify, and enforce child support obligations, by providing legal advice and program guidance, and by conducting training for agency staff. …. The duty of the Office of the Attorney General is to enforce child support obligations in an efficient and timely manner.”

Unfortunately, timeliness went by the wayside during the pandemic.

The mothers that the office of the attorney general sees tend to be “desperate,” Miyares said. Many waited months for hearings that were postponed due to court closures. Then, when the courts reopened, more than a thousand of these cases were being dismissed.

In a statement that was widely ignored by the press this winter, Miyares said:

“Since taking office, I learned that the Division of Child Support Enforcement was requesting the dismissal of hundreds of child support show cause actions filed against parents who were not making their court-ordered payments, even in cases where the pattern of nonpayment was egregious,”

“Judges and legislators rightly expressed concern to my office. The cases brought to my attention were overwhelmingly absentee parents trying to run from their financial responsibilities.”

“Having investigated the matter, I have instructed our attorneys that we will no longer request the dismissal of petitions against parents who are not paying child support, absent special circumstances. Children should never have to go without because the government is giving their parent a pass from responsibility. Parents subject to court orders will not be permitted to hide from their financial obligations to Virginia’s families.”

There is no sane reason for Virginia to let deadbeat dads escape their child-support obligations. Then again, there was no sane reason for the parole board to let cop killers and capital murderers out of prison. But those were the stump-headed policies of the soft-on-crime Northam administration.

Fairness and equity, you know.

“We’re going back to prosecuting deadbeat dads,” declared Miyares on Wednesday. “It’s a new day in Virginia.”

Excellent news for single mothers and the kids who depend on them.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.