A child support order is established based on the Georgia Child Support Guidelines, which considers the income of both parents.  Other factors may also be considered.

If either parent can obtain medical insurance for the child at a reasonable cost, the court will consider that cost in deciding the amount of child support awarded. Usually, if the non-custodial parent can obtain health insurance at a reasonable cost, that parent will be ordered to obtain it for the child.

After a child support order is in place, the support amount will be deducted from the non-custodial parent's paycheck. State law requires immediate income withholding in most cases. This is an easy way for the non-custodial parent to make child support payments. It also provides the non-custodial parent with a record of payments made. If support payments are not deducted from the non-custodial parent's paycheck, they should be paid as directed in the court order. It is very important to keep records of the payments that are made.

The Fatherhood Program can help non-custodial parents who have a case with DCSS and are unable to pay child support.

When the non-custodial parent does not pay the full amount, or does not pay at all, enforcement action is necessary.

If a parent fails to pay in accordance with a support order, he or she may be found in contempt of court. A contempt action may be filed against the non-custodial parent who fails to make support payments or does not maintain the required medical insurance. Non-custodial parents found in contempt of court may be fined, sentenced to jail or both.  In addition, the non-custodial parent is still obligated to pay the full amount of past-due support. The child support order may also be enforced through:

  •  Withholding child support from paychecks, unemployment or weekly worker’s compensation benefits.
  • intercepting federal and/or state income tax refunds.
  • Reporting parents delinquent in child support payments to credit bureaus.
  • Suspending or revoking driver’s, professional, occupational hunting or fishing licenses for failure to pay child support
  • Reviewing and changing child support orders periodically
  • Intercepting lottery winnings of more than $2,500
  • Filing contempt of court actions, which may result in a jail sentence if the noncustodial parent is found in contempt of court
  • Filing liens to seize matched bank accounts, worker’s compensation settlements, bonuses, and social security lump sum payments
  • Denying, suspending or revoking the passport of noncustodial parents who owe more than $2,500 in child support
  • Seizing license tags/denying vehicle registration
  • Placing a lien on vehicles and personal property

The law requires states to cooperate with each other.  The noncustodial parent is legally required to make regular child support payments, no matter where he or she lives.

Both parents have the right to ask DCSS to review a child support order three years after the order becomes effective, unless substantial change in circumstances can be shown for orders less than three years old. The request must be made in writing to the child support office. The review can find that the amount should be less, more or stay the same. Medical insurance may also be added to the order.

If the parent is not on TANF or Family Medicaid and wishes to discontinue child support services, the case can be closed by written request, provided there are no arrears owed by the noncustodial parent that are assigned to the state.  Also, any fees that may be owed by either the custodial parent or noncustodial parent must be paid.