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When a child does not receive the financial support they need to thrive, everyone suffers. If a parent does not honor their child support obligation, it can be challenging for the other parent to make ends meet.

If you have difficulty collecting financial assistance from your co-parent, a seasoned Alpharetta child support enforcement lawyer can explain your legal options. Our firm’s attorneys understand the importance of meeting your child’s needs and will aggressively advocate for you and your family’s best interests.

Both Parents Are Required to Support their Children

In Georgia, both parents are obligated to support their children financially, regardless of their custodial schedule. This obligation continues until the child:

  • Turns age 18;
  • Graduates from high school;
  • Marries; or
  • Becomes emancipated.

In some cases, the parents’ obligation may extend past age 18 or high school graduation if the child is disabled or otherwise unable to support themselves. State law emphasizes a parent’s compliance with all applicable child support orders, and a parent not receiving court-ordered support should consult an experienced child support enforcement attorney.

What if a Parent Stops Paying Court-Ordered Child Support?

When one parent fails to meet their support obligation, the other has several legal options to recoup their unpaid child support payments.

Income Deduction Order

A parent obligated to pay support may agree to have it automatically deducted from their pay and sent to the receiving parent. A judge may also issue an income deduction order without the payor’s consent to ensure consistent payments. These orders are only helpful if a parent receives a regular paycheck, meaning self-employed payors are not subject to income deduction orders.

Wage Garnishment for Child Support Arrears

If a parent fails to pay support over a period of time and accrues arrears, the other parent may seek a court order directing the payor’s employer to withhold a certain amount from their paycheck. The wage garnishment will continue until all child support arrears have been satisfied. In some cases, a court may also authorize garnishment of a payor’s bank account.

Contempt of Court

Under Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-6-28, a parent not receiving the court-ordered child support amount may file a petition for contempt of court. A contempt petition is a serious legal action that may result in fines, court sanctions, and incarceration for the non-compliant parent. The parent filing the petition has the burden of proving to a judge that the other parent has willfully failed to meet their child support obligation.

State laws governing child support enforcement and contempt petitions are complex. A seasoned lawyer in the Alpharetta area understands these laws and how to pursue child support enforcement actions in family court properly.

The Division of Child Support Services

Georgia’s Division of Child Support Services can assist parents in collecting past-due child support. The Division has multiple ways to enforce child support orders. Some of the actions they are authorized to take against the payor parent include:

  • Intercepting income tax refunds;
  • Denying passport applications;
  • Intercepting lottery winnings;
  • Suspending a driver’s license; and
  • Suspending other licenses, including professional and sporting licenses.

For many non-custodial parents, the threat of losing their license or relinquishing their tax refund is enough to secure compliance with their child support obligation. A skilled lawyer can work with Child Support Services to enforce an existing child support order.

Get Help from a Skilled Alpharetta Child Support Enforcement Attorney

It can be challenging to determine what to do when your child’s other parent fails to pay support. Not only might you struggle to meet your child’s needs, but you may be unsure of the legal steps to take to enforce a child support order.

A knowledgeable Alpharetta child support enforcement lawyer can help you evaluate your options and guide you through the legal process. Our team’s skilled legal advocates understand your concerns and can work with you to ensure you receive the support your child is owed, so call today.

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