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What To Do When A Co-Parent Won’t Pay Child Support

What To Do When A Co-Parent Won’t Pay Child Support

Jun 18, 2024 | Divorce

The system for child support is there to ensure that your child gets what they need and you are able to support them in the manner that allows them to thrive. Child support in Georgia is calculated based on a number of factors, including the income of each parent, the number of children, and other circumstances such as parental access to healthcare plans. When you are ordered by a court to pay child support, you must do so in a timely manner or risk owing back child support payments–also known as arrears–or else risk legal penalties.

The family lawyers at Lunn Law, LLC, have experience with child custody arrangements, modifications of existing custody arrangements, enforcing child support payments, and more. We can help walk you through your options for when your co-parent is evading child support payments and what penalties can be leveled by the court in order to collect the money that you are owed and punish delinquencies.

Your Options For Enforcing Child Support Payments

If you have sole, primary or  joint custody of your child, you are responsible for guiding the trajectory of their life, and they are financially dependent on you. It’s important that your children are given all the support to which they are entitled, which is why it’s essential to arrange child support in court and take it seriously. If your co-parent has not been holding up their end of the arrangement, you have legal options for how you can get the payments you are owed.

  • Reach out to The Office Of Child Support Services: Working with a local office will allow you to get professional assistance collecting your child support back payments. In order to help you, OCSS will take one or more actions to force payment from the co-parent, including some of the options that you will read about below.
  • Have your attorney file a contempt action: When your co-parent refuses to pay the court-ordered child support, they can be held in contempt of court. Have your lawyer file the action for contempt, and a judge will order your co-parent to pay their debts or face further legal consequences.

Keep in mind that you are owed all your child support payments no matter how back-dated they are. When you work with your attorney, you can get access to the money that you are owed and support for the child you love. They will help guide you through these and additional options for pursuing payment.

Penalties For Not Paying Child Support In Georgia

If you have a child support arrangement and your co-parent fails to meet the deadlines for their payments, there are consequences that can be disruptive. Child support is determined based on what is in the best interest of the child, so the court does not take it lightly. Penalties for child support are often aimed at collecting the unpaid dues, though they can also be consequences aimed at punishing an offender for your lack of compliance. These penalties can include, but are not limited to:

  • Wage garnishment: Wage garnishment is a common method for bringing child support payments up to date. This option can mean that money is taken from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck or directly from their bank account. In some circumstances, you can also have all or a portion of their annual tax return paycheck rerouted to you.
  • Property holds: Bank account access and cars, among other assets, can be withheld from your co-parent if they owe child support. In some cases, their property can be sold in order to pay their debts.
  • Lien: If your co-parent is a property owner, a judge can take out a lien on their property, which does not immediately render payment to you. However, it will prevent them from selling or transferring the property until their child support is paid off.
  • License suspension: Whether it’s a driver’s license, a business license, or even a hunting and fishing license, non-payment of child support can mean that your co-parent can have their license suspended or their request for a renewal denied.
  • Passport denial: When a person owes past-due child support payments, their passport can be revoked or the passport application denied.
  • Hit on your credit: Unpaid child support can show up on a person’s credit report and diminish their credit score. Poor credit can prevent your co-parent from doing things such as purchasing a house or renting an apartment or getting a loan.
  • Jail: If your co-parent is found in contempt of court, they can be sentenced to jail. When they owe more than $10,000 or have not paid child support in more than two years, they can be sentenced to up to two years in prison per the Deadbeat Parent Punishment Act, a federal law Most child support delinquency results in a misdemeanor sentence, but if your co-parent moves out of state in order to avoid payments, they can potentially be charged with a felony.

These are not the only consequences a person faces if they fail to pay child support, but it’s a representative list of the most common penalties your co-parent might face. It’s essential to keep in mind that child support does not merely go away or that they could be exempt from payment if payment is not pursued within a certain time frame. Paying to support their child is their court-mandated responsibility, as it’s meant to allow the child to thrive. Lack of child support payment puts your child’s wellbeing at risk!

Lunn Law Can Help You Arrange Custody And Collect Your Child Support Payments

When you are arranging child custody or have any issues regarding custody and child support, Lunn Law, LLC, can help you with any of the difficulties you are facing. If your co-parent is not paying their court-ordered child support, we can help you explore your options for enforcing the payments to which you are entitled. Reach out to schedule a case assessment with a member of our team, and we will let you know how we can help you with the support that you and your child need.