Penalties for Not Paying Child Support in Georgia
Failing to pay court-mandated child support can result in numerous serious penalties. In the eyes of the court, failing to pay child support is considered to be harming a child, so it is taken very seriously. If you are having trouble making your child support payments, you cannot just stop paying them without asking a judge to alter the agreement. If your ex-spouse has stopped making child support payments you need, you can take steps to get your payments enforced. Whichever situation you are in, a family law attorney will be vital to your success.
What are the Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support?
Georgia carries steep penalties for parents who refuse to pay legally-mandated child support. They include, but are not limited to:
- Jail: A judge can order a parent that has past due payments to spend time in jail. This is usually saved as a last resort, because a parent in jail cannot earn money to make payments.
- Driver’s license suspension or denial of driver’s license renewal: A parent who is in noncompliance with court-ordered child support payments can lose their driver’s license. The state enforces this penalty once a parent is more than 60 days past due on their payments.
- Professional or Business License revocation: In Georgia, failing to pay child support can lead to the suspension of a professional license, such as a license to practice medicine, an engineering license, or a teaching license, etc. It can also lead to the suspension of a business license until payments are made.
- Wage garnishment: If a parent does not pay their court-ordered child support, then it is legal to garnish wages from their paycheck. In fact, up to 50% of that parent’s earnings can be garnished for child support payment.
These penalties can seriously disrupt a person’s life, preventing them from getting around or even doing their job at all. If you need child support, these enforcement options can help. If you are struggling to make your payments, it is important to try to avoid these penalties if possible. A lawyer can help you no matter which situation you find yourself in.
Should I withhold court-ordered visitation to encourage my child’s parent to pay?
No. In addition to such a decision potentially harming your child, one parent violating a court order does not justify the other parent violating a different one. You too could face serious consequences, including jail time, if you interfere with a visitation order. The best way to handle this situation is to file a complaint with the judge stating that your child’s other parent is not paying, and the judge will render a decision. A lawyer can help guide you through this process.
What if my financial situation has changed and I cannot afford to pay child support?
Sometimes, a parent’s financial situation changes. There could be a job loss or salary reduction. The parent receiving child support payments might get a promotion or a raise. Many issues can arise that could factor into the amount of child support one parent owes. In situations like this, it is important to continue paying the court-ordered child support payments until a judge rules on whether or not some type of payment adjustment is warranted. Sometimes, judges do make changes. A lawyer can review your options with you, and help you decide if going back to court to seek a change is a good idea.
Child Support Issues that Could Benefit from a Lawyer
Family law is not only emotional, but it can also be highly complex. Child support cases, in particular, can benefit from an experienced attorney’s advice. In these cases, a parent’s financial circumstances and the welfare of the child all come into play.
Additionally, the penalties associated with failing to pay are tough. At Kessler & Solomiany, LLC, our lawyers will work diligently to address your concerns and help arrive at a solution. We can help in all of the following situations:
- Legal guidance for a parent in child support “arrears” (past-due payments).
- You are seeking a change in the amount of child support you receive or are ordered to pay.
- You are the custodial parent and are not receiving the child support payments that the other parent is required by law to pay.
- You are new to child support issues and need legal advice.
Each of these issues can be resolved by seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney who knows family law. Contact Kessler & Solomiany, LLC today at (404) 688-8810, and one of our experienced child support attorneys will speak with you about your case.