Steps For Obtaining Child Support
Child support is critical for kids in Georgia, and it is important for parents to understand how their child support obligations work. Like many other states, Georgia uses an “income shares” model to calculate child support, which means that both parents are responsible for a portion of the child support obligation. The court determines each parent’s adjusted gross income, adds those amounts, and uses the total to determine the child support obligation. Then, based on each parent’s adjusted gross income and other relevant factors, the court assigns a portion of the total child support obligation to each parent. Generally speaking, even though both parents share in the total child support obligation, one parent will usually be responsible for making payments to the other based on who is identified as the custodial parent.
How can you obtain child support for your child? Consider the following steps.
Obtain a Child Support Order
In order to be able to obtain or collect child support, you will need to have a child support order issued by the court. If you are in the process of getting divorced and have minor children from your marriage, child custody and child support will be determined during your divorce case. Otherwise, you will need to ask the court to order child support. Regardless of whether you were in a relationship with your child’s other parent, you can ask the court to order child support. Depending upon your circumstances, it may be necessary for parentage or paternity to be established. This is true in cases where the other parent is not the child’s legal parent.
It is important to know that Georgia law only requires parents to pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, or in some circumstances until the child marries or becomes emancipated.
Determine If You Are Owed Support As the Custodial Parent
Once a child support order is issued, the order will clarify the total child support obligation and what portion of the obligation each parent will be responsible for paying. In order for you to receive child support from the other parent, you will usually need to be identified as the custodial parent. According to Georgia law, the custodial parent is either:
- The “parent with whom the child resides more than 50 percent of the time”; or
- In cases where each parent shares the child 50/50 or for an equal amount of time, then the custodial parent is “the parent with the lesser support obligation.”
Consider Enforcement Options
If your child’s other parent is supposed to be paying child support but is not making payments, you will then need to consider enforcement options. Depending upon your circumstances, you may be able to rely on one of the following options to obtain child support:
- Seek an income deduction order to have child support withheld from the other parent’s wages;
- Garnish the other parent’s wages, bank account, or other sources of funding;
- Place a lien on the other parent’s property; or
- Petition the court so that the other parent will be held in contempt and will face consequences (like a driver’s license suspension) for nonpayment.
Contact an Atlanta Child Support Lawyer
If you need help with child support issues, one of the Atlanta child support attorneys at Kaye, Lembeck, Hitt & French can speak with you today.