Georgia Child Support

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Child support is a financial help offered by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent after they get divorced from each other. Generally the amount paid as child subsidy is determined by a Family Court in all the states in the USA. This concept is also true for parents getting divorced in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) enforces the non-custodial parent to fulfill their financial responsibility. The Georgia divorce child support amount is determined by a 'one-size fits all' formula and the court considers a number of factors while determining the child maintenance amount.

Non-custodial parents have to pay the support amount till their children become 18 or 20 years old, if the children are still studying in secondary schools. Let us take a look at the factors that the court considers while ordering the support:

  • Educational expenses
  • Ages of children
  • The way physical custody is shared
  • Standard of living factors
  • Self-employed income
  • A parent's support obligation to any other household
  • Extreme financial circumstances
  • Children's medical costs
  • A parent's own extraordinary expenses
  • Any income that is suppressed by any parent willingly
  • Day-care costs
  • The history of the spending levels of the family
  • Any other issue the court thinks to be considered to provide justice

Georgia Divorce Child Support Process

The DCSS (Division of Child Support Services) adheres to the below mentioned steps:

Initiating a case

  • If a parent is a recipient of some Medicaid benefits or of the TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program, then he/she can get assistance from the DCSS without any application
  • Other parents have to schedule an appointment with the DCSS. They have to fill out an application form and disburse a fee of $25.

Locating the NCP

  • DCSS must have data regarding where the NCP (non custodial parent) resides and works. This is essential to procure a support order, enforce it and/or establish paternity.
  • If the address of the NCP is outside Georgia or the CP (custodial parent) does not know this address, then many months may be required to get child maintenance.
  • If the CP can disclose the Social Security Number and date of birth of the NCP, this step becomes easier.

The issue of Paternity

It is essential to establish paternity before the court can order medical support and child maintenance. In this context, parents must understand the following issues:

  • The meaning of 'paternity' is 'legal fatherhood'.
  • Let us assume that a couple was not married when the child was born. Then, by a court or administrative order, the biological father can be given the status of legal father.
  • Paternity testing can be done by means of a blood sample or by Buccal Swabbing (saliva). Such a test is more than 99 percent precise.

Filing a case

  • The Georgia Child Support Guidelines gives due regard to the number of children and income of both parents while dealing with a child subsidy case.
  • If any one parent can procure medical insurance for the child at some reasonable expense, the court takes into account this fact while handling the case.

Mode of payment

  • Income withholding is done. The support amount is subtracted from the paycheck of the NCP. According to the state child support guidelines, income withholding is done in most of the cases.
  • Irrespective of whether the above method or some other method (if the court has ordered so) is used, the vital point is that a record of the payments must be maintained.

Enforcement of the order

This is discussed separately below.


Both the father and mother may request the DCSS to review the child support order if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • Three years have elapsed since the previous order became effective.
  • Three years have not passed by, but there has been a considerable alteration in circumstances.

The request for review of the child support must be done in writing to the office that is handling your case.

Enforcement of Georgia Divorce Child Support

Enforcement action is required when the non-custodial parent does not pay the support amount determined by the court. In Georgia, the judge may order the non-custodial parent to enroll in the Fatherhood program. This program helps the divorced parents who are unable to pay child support.

The following methods to enforce the child support order may be used depending on the nature of the case:

  • If a parent owes more than 2,500 USD, then his/her passport may be revoked, suspended or denied.
  • Liens may be filed to seize personal property, real property, lump sum worker's compensation settlements and matched bank accounts.
  • Filing an action for contempt of court that might result in imprisonment of the NCP
  • Interception of lottery winnings that are more than 2,500 USD
  • If the parent has occupational, professional and/or driver's licenses, then these might be revoked or suspended
  • A report of the parent who is not obeying the child support orders is forwarded to credit bureaus
  • Interception of state and/or federal income tax refunds
  • Withholding weekly worker's or unemployment compensation benefits and paychecks

Thus there are many important aspects of Georgia divorce child support. Both the parents must know all these aspects. They should also co-operate with each other in providing details of their income and financial condition to the court.

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