When parents do not live together, typically, the parent who does not have primary physical custody pays child support to the parent who does to help with the financial responsibility of raising their child.
Sometimes a paying parent falls behind on their support. In these circumstances, the receiving parent must act to enforce the child support order. There are several ways to collect late child support. Working with a Marietta child support enforcement lawyer helps you get the money you are owed most efficiently. Additionally, if you are the parent who has fallen behind, our trusted child support attorneys can help you get current and, if necessary, modify your future payments.
Georgia family courts usually order child support payments at the same time they make custody arrangements. Sometimes, this can cause confusion among parents who might believe that custody and visitation issues are linked to the child support obligation.
It is true that the amount of time the children spend with each parent influences the child support payment. However, child support is an independent obligation. Each parent must provide financial support for their child, regardless of whether they see the child as often as the custody and visitation order says they can. The Official Code of Georgia §19-6-16 makes a person who violates a child support order subject to enforcement action.
Custodial parents sometimes refuse to allow visitation if the other parent is behind on child support. Paying parents sometimes withhold child support if they feel they are not getting appropriate access to their children or believe the receiving parent is not using the money appropriately. These actions are wrong and violate the family court’s orders. A better strategy is to consult a Marietta attorney about enforcing the child support orders already in place or modifying them, if necessary.
When a parent falls behind on child support, the receiving parent could seek help from the Division for Child Support Services (DCSS) or take the delinquent parent to family court. A court action often resolves the matter faster than working through DCSS.
The options available to enforce a delinquent parent’s obligation to pay child support are the same whether a parent uses DCSS or engages a Marietta attorney to bring the parent to family court. They include:
The Georgia courts typically look for a solution that does not endanger the source of the funds. For example, suspending a parent’s professional license might prevent them from earning a living and reduce the chances they catch up with their child support obligation. Taking the parent’s tax refund and applying it to child support might be a better solution.
A parent facing a family court action to enforce a child support order should get legal help immediately. The consequences Georgia courts can impose are serious, but a savvy legal professional could present their side of the story and offer workable solutions.
Sometimes unexpected developments, such as a debilitating illness or job loss, prevent a parent from paying their child support. Changed circumstances can also impact the amount a parent should pay, including if a child moved out of the receiving parent’s home or the receiving parent got a substantial raise at work. In either of these cases, our Marietta attorneys can petition the family court to modify child support payments.
If grounds to modify the amount are not available, the state has several programs that could help a parent get current and avoid some of the harsher consequences of delinquency. The programs provide services like GED tutoring, job training, budgeting, counseling, and drug and alcohol assistance. In some cases, the programs could assist a parent in getting driving privileges reinstated.
Your children have the right to receive financial support from both parents. When a parent falls behind on their support obligations, the children could experience unnecessary hardship.
A Marietta child support enforcement lawyer from our firm can assist a parent with child support collection issues. Call the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today to discuss your situation with a caring legal professional.