Family splitting up and getting a divorce

Raising and caring for children after a divorce is not only hard work, but it’s also expensive.
Many single parents depend on child support to provide basic necessities for their children.
When a non-custodial parent stops paying child support, the custodial parent faces the burden
of financial hardship and ultimately, the children may suffer. If you’ve obtained a child support
order and your ex has stopped paying child support, he or she may be in contempt of court.
Here are a few things you can do:

Communicate With Your Ex
Before taking legal action, it may be wise to communicate with your ex in an attempt to find
out why he or she has stopped paying child support. If you and your ex can cooperate and
resolve the matter privately, it can spare the family from unnecessary stress and additional
legal costs. Under certain circumstances, you may be willing to accept partial payments for a
limited time. For example, if your ex has fallen on hard times, was laid off, or has fallen ill, you
may be more inclined to cut him some slack until he gets back on his feet. On the other hand, if
your ex is unwilling to be civil and resolve the matter privately, then it may be time to pursue
your legal options.

Contact DCSS
If your ex has stopped paying child support and is refusing to cooperate, you can contact the
Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) If you’re not quite ready to go to court, DCSS
can assist with child support enforcement and collection. If you already have a child support
order, you will need to locate a copy of the original court order and contact your case manager.
If you need a copy of your order, you can obtain one by contacting the Superior Court Clerk’s
office in the county where the order was obtained.
The DCSS child support enforcement unit can enforce a child support order in a number of
ways, including garnishing paychecks, unemployment benefits, or worker’s compensation
benefits, intercepting tax refunds, filing liens and levies on tangible property, and suspending or
revoking driver’s, professional, or occupational licenses (for those parents owe 60 days or more
in child support).

Go To Court
If your ex continues to refuse to pay child support and you already have a court order, you can
file a motion for contempt with the court that originally ordered the payment. You’ll have to
serve the motion to your ex, and the court will set a hearing date. During the hearing, your ex
will have an opportunity to explain why he has failed to pay child support. If your ex is found in
contempt of court, he may face fines or even jail time, in addition to carrying out the original
order. If your ex is sentenced to jail, he is still liable for child support while incarcerated.

Consult With An Attorney

If you’re considering taking your ex back to court for overdue child support, it’s in your best
interest to consult with an attorney first. An experienced attorney can help you determine if
going to court could actually make things worse for your case. For example, if your ex has a
legitimate reason for missing child support payments, such as a serious illness and influx of
medical bills, he could decide to petition for a child support reduction once you’re back in
court. You’ll also want to assess what litigation will cost you in comparison to what you are
owed in child support. The hassle and cost of litigation may not be worth it.

If your ex is failing to comply with your child support order, talk to an attorney about your
options immediately.

At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.