The Penalties for Not Paying Child Support in Georgia
If you fail to pay child support in Georgia, you could face some serious consequences, ranging from being in contempt of court to losing your driver’s license.
While both parents are under an obligation to support their children, one parent will usually make child support payments after a divorce or in the case of a separation when the parents were not married.
Judges have the power to punish parents who fail to comply with child support orders. Parents who already have a court order directing their child’s other parent to pay support who aren’t receiving the payments can bring a motion for enforcement in superior court asking the court to issue additional orders and hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court. If a court finds the non-paying parent is in contempt, a judge could impose fines and even jail the parent.
Typically, parents who are not receiving child support payments can serve a motion on the other parent and the court will set a date which is usually 30 days away.
In Georgia, parents seeking help with child support enforcement can also seek assistance with obtaining and enforcing child support orders from the Division of Child Support Services of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DCSS).
Although many people are familiar with the penalty of being found in contempt of court if a parent fails to pay child support, there are other penalties for parents who fail to pay court-ordered child support. A parent may lose his or her driver’s license.
Under Georgia code O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1(b) in any proceeding for enforcement of a judgment or order to pay child support, a license may be suspended if the parent is 60 days or more in arrears.
The penalty is not confined to the revocation of a driver’s license. The parent who fails to pay child support may lose a business, trade or professional license or a hunting or a fishing license.
The court may order the appropriate licensing or registering entity to suspend the license or registration or deny an application for a license. Evidence relating to the “ability and willingness” of the parent to comply with an order of child support will be considered by the court before an order is entered.
If you have been ordered to pay child support but cannot, you should do everything in your power to avoid being held in contempt of court or having a license revoked. A Georgia family lawyer can talk to you about your option. Please call us at (404) 913-1529.