Georgia trying new approach to collect child support

Georgia's State Department of Human Services (DHS) has partnered with the state's Department of Driver Services to institute a new program designed to encourage parents behind on child support to pay up. The program is similar to those present in other states, including South Carolina Florida, and involves suspending the drivers' licenses of parents characterized as "deadbeats" for failing to pay court-ordered child support. An estimated 12,000 people were sent notices in August of 2014 warning them that they could face license suspension unless they either became current with their child support obligations or contacted the court to seek a modification of the payment terms.

According to one report, the simple implementation of a link between the DHS and the DDS has tripled the amount of delinquent child support (from $3 million in 2011 to an estimated $9 million annually now) collected by the state. The license suspension program is expected to further increase the rate at which parents who are behind on support make much-needed payments. With the license suspension program being so new, however, there isn't yet data available about how effective it might actually be.

How does child support work in Georgia?

Georgia, like many other states, makes child support determinations based upon a mathematical formula that considers:

  • Combined gross income of both parents
  • Amount of time the child spends with each parent
  • Extraordinary expenses (often associated with medical issues, special educational needs or extracurricular activities)
  • Health insurance coverage for the child
  • Work-related daycare costs

Once deductions and credits have been accounted for, the court will set aside a percentage of the parents' combined gross income as child support pursuant to a statutory formula. For example, according to the Georgia Economic Table, if the combined gross income of both parents is $800, the presumptive child support amount for one child will be $197 per month, and the amount would rise to $330 for three children. It is important to note that this is the presumptive amount, and that judges can deviate upward or downward from this amount pursuant to the unique facts and circumstances of a particular family's situation.

Put your mind at ease

If the issue of calculating child support seems confusing to you, you are certainly not alone. Experienced Georgia family law attorneys understand your frustrations and can put your mind at ease. They are available to help guide you through the process of establishing or enforcing child support, so contact a lawyer today to discuss your case.

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