Do you have a Georgia child support order, but aren't receiving any payments?
If you've already obtained a child support order and the non-custodial parent isn't making payments, or if the person ordered to pay is behind in making those payments, there are a number of tools at your disposal.
In Georgia, child support enforcement services are provided by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services (DCSS).
If you already have a case with DCSS, contact your assigned case manager. Be sure to have a copy of the original order when attempting to enforce an existing order. You can obtain a copy of your order at the Clerk of Court's office .
The child support enforcement unit has authority to collect overdue child support (arrears) and to obtain medical coverage through a variety of administrative procedures without ever going to court.
What can DCSS do to help enforce a support order?
DCSS can do a number of things to a parent who doesn't pay their child support including:
Withhold child support from a paycheck or from unemployment benefits.
Intercept federal and or state income tax refunds to pay child support arrears.
Garnish worker's compensation benefits.
Suspend or revoke the driver's, professional, or occupational license of parents who are over 60 days behind in payment.
File liens and levies on tangible property.
File contempt of court actions, which could result in a jail sentence.
Make compliance with child support orders a condition of parole.
File a Petition for Citation of Contempt
Another option is filing a contempt action with the court that ordered payment. If the non-paying parent is found to be in contempt of court, in addition to carrying out the original order, he/she may be subject to sanctions, such as jail time or fines, at the judge's discretion.
If the non-custodial parent in put in jail, he or she is still responsible for child support, even while incarcerated.
What can a non-custodial parent do if he or she can't make payments?
If the non-custodial parent is having problems making payments, he or she should contact the court immediately. The parent can always seek to modify their existing support order. This will require going back to court and explaining to the judge why you can’t make your payments. Only a judge can change the amount you owe under a support order.
Additionally, in Georgia a court can order a father into in the "Fatherhood Program," the largest statewide fatherhood program in the country that works with non-custodial parents who owe child support but lack the ability to pay.
The following table highlights the main provisions of the Georgia's Child Support Enforcement Laws.
|Code Section||O.C.G.A. 19-11-8, et. seq|
|Who is Responsible?||Both parents|
|Agencies||Georgia Department of Child Support Services|
|Remedies Available||Income execution or wage garnishment, fines, possible criminal prosecution, possible denial of a U.S. passport, interception of tax refunds, unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation awards, lottery winnings, property seizure, or other state benefits, reporting to a credit bureau, driver's license suspension, and more.|
If the non-custodial parent moves out of Georgia, the support order can still be enforced in any other U.S. state under the Uniform Federal Family Support Act. If you need help locating the other parent, the federal government has a Federal Parent Locator Service .
Get Legal Help with Child Support Enforcement in Georgia
Georgia's strict laws help to make it more difficult for parents to avoid paying child support. However, in some cases, parents refuse to obey child support orders. If you're a parent who needs help with enforcing a child support order or filing a contempt action in Georgia, it's best to discuss your case with a skilled child support lawyer near you today.
Contact a qualified attorney.