Woodstock Child Support Law Firm Representing Parents in Alpharetta and Woodstock
In Georgia, the ramifications of not paying child support can be severe. If your former spouse or partner has stopped payment child support, you have clear legal rights. If you are no longer able to make your child support payments, you need to seek a modification before you stop paying, as non-payment of child support can lead to penalties that include jail time for criminal contempt.
What are the Consequences for Non-Payment of Child Support in Georgia?
1. Contempt of Court
If you stop paying support and your former spouse or partner takes you to court, you risk being held in contempt. This is a serious matter that can lead to the various penalties discussed below.
2. Garnishment of Wages
One potential penalty for failing to pay child support is garnishment of your wages. If the judge decides that you have improperly failed to pay, it can issue an order that requires your employer to redirect a portion of your wages to satisfy your child support debt. This portion can be up to 50 percent of your net earnings.
3. Jail Time
If the judge determines that you have demonstrated an unwillingness to pay what you owe, it can send you to jail. Alternatively, the judge can sentence you to confinement in a diversion center so that you can work to gradually pay off the amount that you owe in arrears.
4. License Suspension
If you fall behind on your child support payments by more than 60 days, the judge can also issue an order suspending your driver’s license. If you have a trade, business, professional, occupational, or hunting or fishing license, the judge can order this license to be suspended as well.
Are There Any Defenses to Non-Payment of Child Support?
As a general rule, if you owe child support in Georgia, you have to pay. However, there are defenses available that can be used to avoid a finding of contempt (and the penalties discussed above). For example, depending on the factual circumstances involved, potential defenses to non-payment of child support include:
- Inability to pay
- Modification of child custody
- The custodial parent’s receipt of Social Security disability payments on your child’s behalf
- An agreement between the parties
- A void or vague child custody order
However, while these are all potential defenses to non-payment that can protect an obligated parent against a finding of contempt, (i) they do not apply in all cases, and (ii) avoiding a finding of contempt does not necessarily mean that you won’t have to pay what you owe. As a result, before you do or say anything that could make your situation worse, you should speak with an experienced knowledgeable family law attorney at our Alpharetta child support law firm.
Contact Our Woodstock Child Support Law Firm for a Free Consultation
If you need legal advice regarding non-payment of child support, we invite you to contact us for a free initial consultation. With offices in Alpharetta and Woodstock, our divorce and family law firm represents clients throughout the North Metro area. To schedule an appointment as soon as possible, call 678-394-3566 or tell us how we can help online now.