Child Support Enforcement Options in Georgia

Georgia law states that a child must be supported in part financially by both of his or her parents. Banks, Stubbs & McFarland understand the importance of having enough to provide for your child, and having enough information about child support enforcement options. We are ready to defend and protect your child’s rights.

A person who has not paid court-ordered child support might be held in contempt in Georgia and made to pay some amount toward the arrearage. When this happens, the respondent (the person who is supposed to be paying the child support) must be notified of a time and place to appear to show why he or she shouldn’t be held in contempt of the court’s lawful order. In some instances, this can end with the respondent being placed in jail until some amount, determined by the court, is paid toward the support amount.

This is not the only tool available to custodial parents and courts when attempting to make someone comply with a child support order, however. Under Georgia Code Section 19-6-28.1, for example, some respondents may end up having their various state-issued licenses suspended. According to the law, if a respondent owes more than 60 days’ worth of support, a court can order the suspension or refusal to renew such licenses. The most common of these would be the person’s driver’s license, but a professional license or a sporting license, such as one to hunt or fish may also be affected. In doing so, the court will consider evidence of the respondent’s ability and willingness to pay the support.

To get his or her license back, the respondent would have to show that he or she had brought the child support account current. These remedies may be more effective at times than a contempt proceeding, as it is sometimes hard to prove a respondent has the ability to pay a purge of his contempt at a court hearing, and putting a respondent in jail will generally impair his or her ability to make money, threatening any flow of child support that had been coming. For some people, however, the threat of losing a professional or other license is incentive enough to ensure the support account is up to date.

Generally, these kinds of enforcement actions are taken in tandem with contempt motions, in an attempt to jar the respondent into the realization that he or she will need to make payments as ordered. To determine what might be the best way to enforce an existing order, you may want to consider contacting a family law attorney.