How To Enforce Child Support in Georgia
The first step is to educate yourself by reading about the law in your state, then hire a qualified Family Law Attorney that can help you enforce child support effectively.There are a number of legal actions you can consider if the parent that does not have custody (the “non-custodial parent”) is not paying the child support that the court ordered, including:
If You Need To Enforce Child Support File a “Contempt Action” in Court
A parent who is behind in child support is in contempt of the court order. He or she can be ordered to pay what is owed (including the legal costs you have to pay to file the contempt action). The contempt action must be filed in the court that ordered the child support to be paid.
Get an Income Deduction Order to Enforce Child Support
An Income Deduction Order is the most effective way to collect child support. This orders the non-custodial parent’s employer to withhold the amount of child support from that parent’s paycheck. If you already have a child support order and it does not contain a paragraph about income deduction, you can go back to court and get the language in the court order changed if the other parent is behind in child support payments for more than the amount of one month’s support. We recommend that you seek counsel and prepare yourself monetarly to start your case sooner than later.. Sure it is uncomfortable to go after the person that you once loved and had a life with, but you and your children deserve assistance. We all know how physically taxing rasing kids can be and that is without even considering the financial and emotional aspects that occur during and after a divorce.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources has a Child Support Enforcement Division (“CSE”). CSE can help you get the court order enforced. CSE can also help you get a portion of the non-custodial parent’s tax refund if you request it by August of each year. Of course we can help you with all the filing and know how to guide you through the legal process to enforce Child Support effectively. If the absent parent is receiving workers’ compensation benefits, CSE can contact the Workers’ Compensation Board, get information about the case and pursue collection of child support through garnishment of that parent’s Workers Compensation benefits. CSE can also collect child support from the absent parent’s unemployment compensation. O.C.G.A. § 34-8-198.
Get a lien – If your ex owns property and you are trying to enforce Child Support this might be your route.
If you know the absent parent owns real or personal property, talk to a Family Law Attorney about getting a lien on the land and the house or about levying on personal property. A lien is a claim you have on someone’s personal property (car, boat, T.V., etc.) or real property (house or land) for payment of a debt (such as child support). When a lien is placed on real or personal property, the lien must be satisfied (paid off) before the absent parent can sell the property.To levy is to seize (take) personal property in satisfaction (payment) of a legal claim.
Part of the process to enforce Child Support is to file a Writ of Fieri Facias (Fi Fa) Where the Non-custodial Parent has Property
Another way to enforce an order for support is to get writ of fieri facias. You can get this form from the clerk of the court who issued the order. You can then file this form and record it on the general execution docket of the superior court of any county in the state in which you have reason to believe that the absent parent may own real estate (house and/or land). A recorded fi. fa. is used to place a lien on property (real estate or automobile) and allows the proper law enforcement officer to levy on other personal property. However, these procedures are complicated, and you should contact a private attorney for assistance.
File a Garnishment
The most common way parents enforce Child Support is to legally garnish the non-custodial parent’s wages. That is if he or she were ordered to pay child support in the court of law.
If the absent parent is at least 30 days behind in Child Support and he or she owes, you can file a garnishment. You can garnish bank accounts, and tax refunds, among other options, which Attorney Sean R. Whitworth or the lawyer of your choice can discuss with you. You can also file a garnishment against their insurance company, make sure to get the name and address of the insurance company. You can then file a garnishment against the insurance company.
Request that a Court Deny or Suspend the Other Parent’s License
If the parent is 60 days behind on child support but has the ability to pay, the court can deny or suspend his or her driver’s license, professional license, hunting or fishing license. Keep in mind that if the other party loses their job due to not having a valid license to get to and from his or her job, you may be hard pressed to get anything.
What Are Income Deduction Orders?
As of January 1, 1994, ALL child support orders MUST include a provision for wage withholding (taking child support from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck) unless there is a written agreement between the parents that provides for another arrangement.
Enforce Child Support for your children, it is the right thing to do!
Orders that don’t contain this provision can be modified to include a wage withholding provision. You can ask the court for this change in a regular modification proceeding or in a contempt proceeding. To do this, the non-custodial parent must be behind in child support payments for more than the amount of one month’s support. Copies of the income deduction order must be served by mail on the non-custodial parent and his or her employer.
Attorney Sean R. Whitworth specializes in Family Law and is licensed to practice in Georgia. He has helped hundreds of Families enforce Child Support over the last decade and offers his services fulltime in Marietta Georgia with a part time office in Midtown Atlanta. Because Attorney Whitworth offers Flat Fees, and free consultations, it is often easier to obtain an immediate appointment at the main office in Marietta.
* This article is for informational purposes only – Results vary from Client to Client and are not guaranteed