Parents have a legal and moral obligation to support and provide for their children. This is usually commonplace in a united family setting. However, when both parents are not together, one of them may try to shy away from childcare and neglect the needs of the children. The state has child support laws and guidelines to ensure that all parents meet up with their obligation to support their children, thus providing better living conditions for the children. This article will give information about child support in Georgia.
Child Support Process After Divorce
To establish child support payments, the custodial parent of the child must first open a child support case. To do this, the parent has to call child support services (CSS) to schedule an appointment. Next, the parent will have to fill out an application form and pay a fee,
Once this process is done, CSS tries to locate the other parent so they can be served with a notice. The process of locating the other parent may take months especially if the address is outside of the state. There is also no guarantee of locating the other parent, although providing details like Social Security Number can make the tracking process easier. If the fatherhood of the child is contested, the court may order genetic testing to be carried out. This is done by collecting a sample (usually saliva, but sometimes blood) and performing a DNA test. The results gotten are generally more than 99% accurate.
When paternity has been established, the court hearing for the child support case may commence fully. In deciding how much is to be paid as child support, the court takes factors like the parents’ income, number of children, age of the children, previous support obligations, insurance costs, etc. into consideration.
The child support order can also be reviewed at a later time if there is a significant change in the income and financial conditions of the parents of the child. For additional information, visit https://childsupport.georgia.gov/about-us/understanding-child-support.
How Do You Receive Child Support?
Custodial parents can choose to receive their child support payments in either of two ways. The first method is through direct deposit. In this case, the money gotten from the non-custodial parent is paid into the savings or checking account of the custodial parent. Processing of payments may take about two business days before the funds are reflected in the account.
The next option is to use a state-issued card. Georgia allows parents to receive their child support payments without a bank account. This is done by issuing them with a special EPPICard to which their monthly payments are loaded. The EPPICard is a debit card that can be used to make payments and withdraw cash at any sales point or ATM that accepts MasterCard payments. Details of the EPPICard at www.eppicard.com.
For more information concerning the options available for parents to receive child support payments, visit https://childsupport.georgia.gov.
Maximum Amount Receivable as Child Support
Child support calculations in Georgia are based on the Income Shares Model. The amount that each parent would have spent on the child in a regular family unit is estimated and then used to decide how much should be paid. Calculations also consider how much time the child spends with each parent and how much the parents earn individually. For parents paying other child support obligations, this is factored in as well. Adjustments may be made if one of the parents is providing medical and dental insurance for the child. A sample child support calculator can be accessed at https://csconlinecalc.georgiacourts.gov/.
Parents who refuse to seek employment or who are voluntarily underemployed may have income imputed for them. If this is done, the parent has to pay child support based on the imputed income, and not based on their actual income. For further details, visit https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce/divorce-and-children/child-support-georgia.htm.
Enforcement of Child Support
Parents who refuse to pay the court-ordered child support fees may be found to be in contempt of court. Parents found in contempt of court may be fined, issued jail terms, or both. In order to enforce child support payments, the court can take the following actions: withhold income from paychecks or unemployment benefits, make a report to credit agencies, intercept lottery winnings or tax refunds, suspend licenses (driver’s license, fishing license, hunting license, etc.), revoke passports, place liens on bank accounts and property, etc. All these are meant to coerce the defaulting parent to settle outstanding child support bills.