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Unpaid Child Support is Forever

To the parent who owes child support, the phrase "Unpaid Child Support Is Forever" may appear less palatable than the familiar phrase regarding diamonds. But, generally speaking, this phrase is true in many aspects.

Let's suppose that a parent was ordered to pay a certain amount of child support to her ex-spouse pursuant to a divorce decree. Let's further assume that the parent failed to pay the full amount of child support on time for a decade. The parent is in her fifties, and her children are now adults. Can her ex-spouse take legal action to collect the child support arrearage?

Yes, the ex-spouse can go after the back child support. With limited exceptions, once unpaid child support accrues, it does not go away until and unless it is paid. In other words, if you owe child support, the most foolish action you could take is to bury your head in a sand and hope that it will all go away with the passage of time. To make things worse for the non-paying parent, child support arrearage may accrue interest.

Simply put, child support is something that you do not want to mess with. The non-paying parent's life may become severely difficult due to the legal ramifications of non-payment of child support, including, but not limited to, jail time and suspension of driver's license. The government can even deny or suspend that parent's passport.

Oftentimes, child support arrearage occurs due to circumstances out of the non-paying parent's control. For example, the non-paying parent might have been subject to an involuntary reduction in her income. Under Georgia law, a parent may modify the amount of child support obligation provided certain requirements are satisfied. Thus, if you find yourself facing back child support that seems to grow exponentially, you may want to consult with a family law attorney to discuss your options. Child support arrearage affects not only the non-paying parent's life, but also that of the child. After all, child support belongs to the child. It is in the child's best interests for the parent to be able to pay the appropriate amount of child support pursuant to the Georgia Child Support Guidelines.

And, if you are the parent who was supposed to receive child support, that opportunity is still out there. That debt hasn't gone away.

Few things in life are forever, but let's try make the child's happiness and welfare forever. It will be worth every penny.

Daesik Shin

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