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What happens if a parent does not pay child support?

Georgia residents may be unaware of what actions may occur when a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support owed pursuant to a court order. The enforcement actions that are taken are carried out by the Georgia Division of Child Support Services. Enforcement actions may begin when a case has become delinquent. A case is considered delinquent when the amount that is unpaid is equal to the amount that was ordered to be paid each month.

Once a case is delinquent, a 30-day delinquency notice is automatically sent to the non-custodial parent. The agent assigned to the case can then decide what enforcement actions are appropriate to take. Actions that will be taken against a delinquent parent may include the withholding of wages; intercepting lottery winnings or tax refunds; liens filed against bank accounts, worker's compensation or personal property; referral to credit bureaus; and denial of passports or recreational licenses. After 60 days, suspension of professional, recreational, or driver's licenses may occur as well.

If standard enforcement measures fail, contempt of court actions may then be taken. These actions could include jail, fines or both. If the non-custodial parent is the father, then they may be ordered to enroll in the Fatherhood Program. This program offers assistance with job training and placement. It also offers classes on parenthood and financial management.

In cases where the non-custodial parent resides in another state, child support enforcement actions cannot be taken by the DCSS. The delinquent parent is subject to the enforcement agencies of that state. A family law attorney can provide a client with more insight into his process.Source: Division of Child Support Services, "The Child Support Process", 10/31/2014

Source: Georgia Department of Human Services, "What type of enforcement actions can be taken against the non-custodial parent for not paying support?", October 30, 2014

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