Raising and caring for a child is a considerable financial responsibility. Unfortunately, there are several single parents of young children that do not receive adequate financial contributions from the other parent. In the State of Georgia both parents are equally responsible for ensuring that their child has all the necessary accommodations that they need. This means that the non-custodial parent is still obligated to contribute financially to the custodial parent until the child reaches the age of majority.
The process of determining the financial obligation of the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent begins with a look at the child support guidelines. Once the amount is determined the Court will issue an order that will be binding on both parties as to the amount the custodial parent is to receive. If the non-custodial parent does not make the payments, there are remedies in place to ensure that the best interests of the child are satisfied. Back child support refers to arrearages of child support payments accumulated due to nonpayment after the Court issued order. Unlike some other States, Georgia does not recognize the concept of retroactive child support. However, in some cases the Court will order the non-custodial parent to reimburse the custodial parent for costs that were actually incurred, such as maternity costs, if verified with records. It does not allow the mother to receive a monetary amount for what she would have provided for the child if child support had been paid.
The failure to pay child support in the State of Georgia may result in the non-custodial parent being held in contempt, suspension of driver’s license, denial of passport and possible jail time. At the very least the Court may order an income deduction order to draft the money directly out of the parent’s bank account. All of these possible outcomes are entirely focused on encouraging the non-custodial parent to support the child. There are instances where, despite all of the best efforts of the judicial system, the non-custodial parent refusing to make payments. Under O.C.G.A §19-10-1 a parent abandons a child when said parent willfully and voluntarily fails to furnish sufficient food, clothing or shelter for the needs of the child. This statute carries with it a misdemeanor (1 to 12 month) penalty for a first offense and graduates to a felony (1 to 3 years) penalty for leaving the state or a third offense of abandonment. In other words, if the Court is unable to secure the financial assistance of the non-custodial parent through all other means the parent could face a lengthy sentence, including but not limited to probation, incarceration or some combination of the two.
The Faucette Law Firm represents clients in all matters related to child support, child custody, alimony, contested divorce, uncontested divorce and modifications. We serve Fulton, Douglas, Cobb, Gwinnett, Fayette, DeKalb and Carroll Counties. Our law firm is client focused and we’re committed to guiding clients to the best possible result in their case. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.