In all cases involving minor children, the Court requires a finding of child support. In 2007, the Georgia Child Support Commission established a Child Support Worksheet and Schedules that provides a formula for determining child support, which includes gross income of both parents, payment of insurance premiums and child care for the minor children, as well as other expenses. The Court may establish child support on an initial basis, but it may also modify or enforce existing child support orders.
If a party owing child support fails to pay the support obligation as ordered, then that party may be held in contempt, may have his or her wages garnished, or may be sanctioned by the court.
Establishing Child Support
You must first get a court order to set up child support – there are numerous ways to do this. First, you and your child’s other guardian can accept a suitable amount (usually set by your state’s guidelines) for support. A judge must permit your agreement and turn it into an official court order. If you and your child’s other guardian can’t agree, you’ll have to seek a judge or local agency to set the amount. You may employ an experienced legal professional in your region to file a request for a child support order.
If you can’t afford an attorney, don’t give up hope your state or local child support service office (referred to as “Child Support Services” in the state of Georgia) may help parents establish, enforce, collect and adjust child support orders. This government child support services don’t represent either parent, however rather work on behalf of the state to make sure adolescents receive the economic help they need Local offices may also obtain medical support orders, establish paternity, locate deadbeat parents, and locate assets from which child support can be paid.
Enforcing Child Support
Once established, a child support order must be obeyed. If not, parents may ask an attorney or their local Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) for help. A delinquent parent may be subject to any, or all, of the following enforcement tools:
- Wage Deductions – the custodial parent, his or her attorney, or OCSS can request an income withholding order or wage assignment. With a wage deduction, child support is taken directly out of the non-custodial (paying) parent’s wages.
- Federal Income Tax Intercepts – the regimen may intercept a significant tax refund to cover late or lacking child support payments.
- License Suspensions and Revocations – an offender parent’s driver’s license(s) and/or professional license(s) may additionally be revoked.
- Contempt of Court – it is a criminal order that can result in a fine or jail time for the guardian whoever failed to make court-ordered support payments. However, the guardian (or his or her attorney) must go to court to obtain this order from a judge.