The parents of a child are required to provide for the child until he or she becomes an adult. Regardless of whether the child is living with the mother or father, the non-custodial parent is responsible for providing assistance to the custodial parent for items such as housing, medical insurance, food and clothing. Georgia has a statutory amount that the non-custodial parent is required to pay. When the amount has been ordered by a court pursuant to a divorce decree or agreement consequences can be severe for a failure to abide by the terms.
One option available to the custodial parent for a failure to abide by the court ordered child support payments is to file a motion for contempt. A petition for the court to hold a party in contempt is a request that the court find that the non-moving party has failed to obey a court order. These petitions are filed in the county where the non-custodial parent resides. Generally, the court will hold a hearing to determine the merits of the contempt allegation and what the next steps are to rectify the situation.
The tools at the court’s disposal to force compliance with the court order for payment of child support are: citations, suspension of driver’s license, denial of passport applications, and incarceration. Generally, incarnation is a last resort. Courts usually exhaust all other alternatives besides placing the non-paying spouse in jail because it typically doesn’t produce payments.
What About Retroactive Child Support?
The state of Georgia does not have a law that requires a parent of a child to pay back child support. In other words, child support in Georgia includes the child support which begins from the date that the court enters the order. However, the custodial parent can request expenditures for expenses incurred on the child’s behalf from pregnancy and beyond. If the mother is able to recover past expenses they are limited to birth-related medical expenses and subsequent expenditures actually incurred on the child’s behalf.
It is important when dealing with any family law or divorce related matter to obtain the representation of an experienced attorney. The Faucette Law Firm serves the Douglasville and the surrounding metro Atlanta area with divorce, custody, child support, spousal support and modification related matters. Contact our firm today for a consultation.