Sharing the latest updates about Georgia Family Law and how to enforce Child Support
Enforce Child Support for your children’s sake. Is your former spouse failing to pay you the awarded child support – letting you struggle to make ends meet?When faced with this problem, many custodial parents feel powerless. Fortunately, there are several ways to enforce child support in the state of Georgia if the non-custodial parent fails to meet payments, assuming those payments are court-ordered. At the Law Offices of Sean R. Whitworth, you will be treated with the care and attention you deserve. Read about our Attorney today.
Common Methods to enforce Child Support include:
Getting an Income Deduction Order
In January of 1994, the state of Georgia passed a requirement that all child support orders include an allowance for wage withholding unless the parents create a written agreement providing other arrangements should payments fail to come through. Orders that don’t include this allowance can be modified during a regular modification proceeding or a contempt proceeding.
This is, by far, the most effective method used to enforce child support. An income deduction order requires the non-custodial parent’s employer to withhold the amount due for child support from his/her paycheck. If you already have court-ordered support, and the order doesn’t include a paragraph about income deduction, you can return to court and request the language be added – assuming the non-custodial parent is behind in child support payments by more than one month.
Filing Contempt in Court
When a parent fails to pay child support, he/she is ignoring a court order, placing him/her in contempt. This means the non-custodial parent can be ordered to pay what is due (including legal costs you’ve incurred to file an action of contempt) – or face serious consequences. The contempt action must be filed in the same court that handed down your child support order.
Contacting Child Support Enforcement
The state of Georgia has a Department of Human Resources. Underneath that department, you’ll find the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSE). This division can help enforce child support. It can also help obtain a portion of the non-custodial parent’s tax refund, assuming your request is filed by August of each fiscal year. If the non-custodial parent is receiving workers’ compensation benefits, CSE can contact the Workers’ Compensation Board, thus pursuing the collection of child support through those benefits. Finally, CSE can collect owed support from unemployment compensation.
Getting a Lien
Does your former spouse own real estate or personal property? An experienced attorney can help you obtain a lien on the land, house, or personal property.
A personal property or home lien is a claim you have on someone else’s belongings – including a car, boat, motorhome, television, house, or land – to cover the payment of debt. When a lien is placed on the real estate or personal property, the debt must be paid in full before any property can be sold by the owner.
Filing a Garnishment
If the non-custodial parent is more than thirty days behind in child support, you can legally file a garnishment. A garnishment is a court order directing that money or property of a third party (employer, bank, or benefit holder) can be sized to satisfy a debt.
Filing a Writ of Fieri Facias
You can also enforce child support by filing a writ of fieri facias. This form can be obtained from the court that issued your child support order. Once you file the request and have it recorded on the general execution docket of a superior court, you can use the writ of fieri facias to place a lien on real estate or personal property, allowing a law enforcement officer to levy property as needed. The superior court should be located in any county in which you have reason to believe the non-custodial parent owns real estate. These procedures, however, are complicated. We suggest working closely with a qualified lawyer.
Requesting a License Suspension
If the non-custodial parent is more than sixty days behind in child support payments but has a proven ability to pay, the court can deny or suspend his/her driver’s license, professional license, and hunting or fishing license. This is often the last resort, forcing the other parent into action.
Sean R. Whitworth, Attorney at Law
If you need help to enforce child support that was awarded to you, or you would like to modify current support or custody arrangements, please feel free to contact us. Sean R. Whitworth is a qualified and experienced attorney located in Marietta Georgia. Attorney Whitworth and his legal team are prepared to help you with all of your Family Law issues.
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