The West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement, West Virginia's IV-D agency, establishes paternity and child support, and enforces support from a child's parent. The Bureau for Child Support Enforcement also enforces court orders for spousal support, known as alimony.
The mission of the West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement is to promote and enhance the social, emotional, and financial bonds between children and their parents. The Bureau accomplishes this mission by:
- Establishing and enforcing paternity, child support and medical support orders;
- Educating parents and prospective parents;
- Having accurate case management;
- Facilitating parent responsibility to minimize taxpayer burden; and
- Performing these activities in a customer-friendly atmosphere.
Authority for BCSE Services
The West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement and its role are defined by West Virginia Code §§ 48-18-101, et seq. Many of the Bureau's responsibilities that are required by state law permit the Bureau to comply with federal law mandates instituted by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act in 1975. Later amendments to the federal law in 1984 required states to use proven enforcement methods and to provide equal services to families who apply for child support services.
The Family Support Act of 1998 provided additional requirements to further strengthen and enhance the existing laws and services to families. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act revised procedures available to states to advance the goal of family self-sufficiency.
Limitations on BCSE Authority
The authority of the West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement is established by state and federal law. The Bureau is only permitted to perform those duties set forth in state and federal law. The following services may not be provided by the Bureau:
- Advice or representation on matters of custody and visitation.
- Representation to any party (other than the state) in a divorce, paternity, child support or custody proceeding. Although the Bureau is directed by statute to pursue the best interests of the child in a paternity action, the Bureau does not represent the child but rather the state's interest in the child's well-being. The "state" may be West Virginia or another state involved in a child support case in accordance with the laws of West Virginia, the other state and applicable federal law.