When parents live apart, typically, the parent who does not live with the children most of the time pays support to the custodial parent. The money represents the parent’s contribution to the children’s food, shelter, clothing, educational expenses, and transportation.
The law in Georgia has established a system to ensure that children receive the support they need. The process of child support payments in Alpharetta frees the paying parent from having to keep track of payment due dates and allows the receiving parent to rely on the support arriving every month.
When parents decide to live apart, the judge must approve their parenting plan, which includes the couple’s child support arrangement. The state has a formula to determine how much a parent must pay.
The judge issues the approved parenting plan as an enforceable court order. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-6-32 requires that unless an exception applies, the judge must issue an Income Deduction Order (IDO) as part of the Alpharetta child support payment process.
The IDO directs the paying parent’s employer to deduct the child support payment from their wages and pay it to the Family Support Registry of the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The order follows the parent, so if the paying parent gets a new job, the IDO applies to the new employer. Once DCSS receives the payment, it either directly deposits it into the receiving parent’s bank account or issues a debit card.
Income deduction does not work for everyone. Freelancers, independent contractors, students, unemployed people, casual laborers, and some business owners do not receive regular paychecks. Regardless, they still must pay their child support regularly.
The DCSS also collects payments for parents who do not have an employer. A parent establishes an account with the Family Support Registry and deposits the child support payment when it is due.
The registry accepts payments online by credit or debit card. A parent also could mail a money order to the address on their court order.
One of the advantages of Alpharetta’s child support process is that the state has a record of the parent’s payment and the other parent’s receipt. If there is a dispute about whether a payment was made, there is proof establishing who is right.
Sometimes, a parent falls behind on their child support. This could happen if an employed parent loses their job and does not find another one right away, or if a parent who makes direct payments to the registry skips a payment for some reason. The receiving parent can ask DCSS to intervene.
DCSS has substantial power to ensure children receive their support. It can withhold money from Workers’ Compensation benefits or unemployment checks, intercept state and federal tax refunds, take lottery winnings, freeze a parent’s bank account, and put a lien on their property. DCSS can even ask a judge to hold the parent in contempt of court and put them in jail until they bring their payments up to date.
Some people do not like a government agency being the middleman for child support payments, but the system solves some difficult problems. It ensures parents in conflict do not have to interact about money, which enhances family safety. It also provides documentation of payment and receipt and makes payments automatically, so there is no possibility of forgetting or sending a payment late.
Despite all these benefits, problems with child support still arise sometimes. Talk to our team of family attorneys about the best way to solve any issues you have with the process of child support payments in Alpharetta.