In the state of Georgia, child support is awarded based on guidelines set by the government. The Office of Child Support Services ("OCSS") is responsible for enforcing orders for child support. There are a number of steps involved in making a claim for Georgia child support.
Applying for Georgia Child Support
- Contact OCSS to open a file.
Either parent can call OCSS at (800) 227-7993 to make an appointment to open a case file.
- Find the non-custodial parent.
The OCSS must have the address (either at home or at work) of the non-custodial parent. If you do not know where the non-custodial parent lives or works, provide his or her date of birth and/or social security number to help OCSS locate this individual.
- Establish paternity.
Legal fatherhood (paternity) in the case of an unmarried couple is made by administrative or court order. DNA tests are ordered if the man is unwilling to admit paternity.
- Support Order filed.
Georgia child support is ordered based on the income of both parents and the number of children involved. The cost of health insurance is considered by the court when awarding child support. If the non-custodial parent is in a position to obtain this insurance at a reasonable price, the court may order that person to provide said insurance.
- Payments commence.
Georgia child support is deducted from the non-custodial parent's paycheck. The advantage to this system is that it is a convenient method of payment and the non-custodial parent has a record of payments made.
Georgia Child Support Order Enforcement
If the non-custodial parent does not pay the full amount of child support as ordered, enforcement proceedings commence. He or she may be found in contempt of court. A person found to be in contempt may be subject to fines, jail time, or both. This penalty in no way affects his or her responsibility for the past due child support payments.
Other methods of enforcing an order for Georgia child support include:
- Garnishment of wages, unemployment or workers' compensation benefits
- Seizing income tax refunds (federal or state level)
- Reporting unpaid child support to a credit bureau ($7,500 or more unpaid)
- Intercepting lottery winnings of more than $5,000
- Seizing of assets (bank accounts, real or personal property)
- Suspending or revoking the delinquent parent's driver's, license, professional license, or passport
Reviewing a Support Order
Support orders may be reviewed at the written request of either parent three years after the order was issued. If a significant change in either parent's financial situation occurs before the three-year mark, then the Georgia child support may be reviewed earlier. The review may find that the level of child support should be increased, decreased, or remain as is. The OCSS is available to assist parents in receiving support payments for their children, as ordered. A Georgia child support calculator may be found online. The State has even made it possible for non-custodial parents to make payments directly from a bank account, by credit or debit card, or by Western Union wire transfer.