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Child Support Enforcement Options

Child Support Enforcement Options

When one parent refuses, or is unable, to make court ordered child support payments, it can be very stressful on the child and the other parent. There are several courses of legal action that can be taken in order to ensure your child receives the support that is owed to him or her. It is best to speak with your attorney to determine which course of action is best for your particular situation.

Income Deduction Orders (IDO)

This is essentially a wage garnishment. The income deduction order requires the employer of the payor of child support to withhold a portion of the payor’s income. The original court order must include language allowing an IDO unless the parties have mutually agreed to other arrangements. If it does not, you may request that the order be modified to include such language if the payor is over one month behind in his or her child support payments.

Civil Contempt Claims

A civil contempt claim may be filed by the custodial parent when the payor is not following the court order. This may be filed when the payor fails to make payments or when the payor does not make payments in full. If the payor is trying to make payments, the court will be more likely to try to work with the payor to modify the payment schedule. The court will not decrease the amount of support owed to the child but may be willing to decrease the monthly payments and extend the amount of time over which the payments must be made. If the payor is simply refusing to make payments or take action towards making payments, the court will likely fine the payor.

What if I can’t afford to go to court again?

Generally, the rules of professional conduct prohibit attorneys from accepting contingency fees in family law proceedings. However, in cases where a party seeks to file a contempt claim to recover overdue, court ordered support payments, attorneys may accept such cases on a contingent basis. You can also see assistance from the Georgia Division of Child Support Services.

Other Child Support Enforcement Options

There are other enforcement options such as criminal charges, suspension of licenses, and putting a lien on personal properties. Threats of such actions may motivate the payor but as practical enforcement tools, these actions can be counter productive. If criminal charges are brought, the payor may be sentenced to time in jail. While serving the jail time, the support payments continue to accrue but the payor is not able to work, which does not resolve the issue and can actually make the situation worse. Similarly, suspension of professional licenses or drivers licenses may also impede the payors ability to work and make support payments. Suspension of a license can only be requested after the payments are sixty days overdue. A lien on property such as a home or vehicle will preclude the payor from selling the property. However, selling the property may actually enable the payor to make the support payments.

Conclusion

If your child is owed outstanding child support payments, speak with your attorney to determine the best course of action. It is important to evaluate the situation objectively in order to decide which course of action will actually result in recovery of the payments and not just punishment of the parent.

If you are facing issues with your child’s other parent not paying child support, or if you need to establish child support, call our office at 770-609-1247 to discuss how we can assist you.

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