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How Georgia enforces child support orders if parents won’t pay

On Behalf of | May 16, 2022 | Family Law

Raising a child is expensive. When parents don’t live together and do not equally share parental responsibilities, the courts often issue a child support order. The amount of child support ordered in Georgia is a reflection of family circumstances, including the income of each parent and the division of parenting time.

Since child support comes in the form of a court order, it carries the full weight of the Georgia family courts. Despite requirements issued by the courts and the fact that child support helps give someone’s children a better standard of living, there are still many people who resent support obligations and try to avoid paying. There are also some people who fall behind on child support due to job loss or other factors outside of their control.

Once someone’s child support obligations are in arrears, they may face enforcement action. What can the Georgia courts do to enforce child support orders?

Bring you back to court

The early stages of child support enforcement may involve a hearing with the family courts. In extreme cases, the courts may eventually issue a bench warrant for someone’s arrest because of past-due child support. During either family court proceedings or a contempt of court hearing, the parent in arrears could face additional penalties beyond the support they will still have to pay.

Tax return interception

The state can lay claim to somebody’s federal or state tax return if they have significant past-due amounts owed for child support. Seizure of the funds to pay child support is typically automatic, which means that someone will never receive their income tax refund at all.

License revocation

When someone goes multiple months without making child support payments, the state may take aggressive measures to prompt them into compliance, including revoking their licenses. The state could suspend someone’s driver’s license, professional license for a career like accounting or even their recreational license for fishing or hunting.

For those paying support, ensuring that they remain in compliance and taking swift action when personal circumstances will prevent them from paying child support is key to avoiding enforcement action. If someone loses their job or faces similar changes to their circumstances, they can ask for a child support modification to reduce how much they pay. Parents receiving support can ask for enforcement assistance when their ex falls behind.

Learning more about the rules that apply to Georgia child support orders can help those paying and receiving support.