Want to learn more about the Georgia child support laws for non-custodial parents?
In this post, you’ll learn about:
- how to avoid owing lump sum back payments years down the road
- how does child support work if the non-custodial parent doesn’t have a job
- what should you do if the non-custodial parent is not paying child support
- how you can save thousands in child support
So, keep on reading.
Table of Contents
- What Are The Georgia Child Support Laws for Non-Custodial Parents?
- How Does Child Support Work If The Mother Has No Job?
- How Does Child Support Work If The Father Has No Job?
- How Much Will You Owe In Back Child Support?
- How To Safely Be Paying Child Support Without a Court Order
- What You Should Know About Georgia Child Support Payments
- How You Can Save Thousands In Child Support
What Are The Georgia Child Support Laws for Non-Custodial Parents?
For child custody in Georgia, a parent with primary physical custody is the custodial parent.
This means that the child is living with that parent the majority of the time.
Georgia’s child support laws make the non-custodial parent pay child support to the custodial parent.
Child support laws are determined at the state level.
Meaning that each state has different child support laws.
And the amount that you pay in Georgia child support gets determined by the local courts.
The child support laws in Georgia are statutory.
This means that child support in Georgia is a percentage of both parent’s gross income.
The child support laws in Georgia use a shared income model.
They look at each parents’ gross income and divide the cost of raising the child proportionately.
But how does child support work if the mother has no job?
How Does Child Support Work If The Mother Has No Job?
It’s not always the case, but for this example, let’s assume that the mother is the custodial parent.
The way child support works if the mother has no job is sometimes unfair to the father.
This is because child support in Georgia is based proportionately on each parent’s income.
If the mother has no job, but the father has a high paying job, the father will end up owing more.
Even if the mother decides to quit her job to stay home with the children, you can pay more.
Because the main purpose of child support laws are to ensure the health and safety of the child is provided.
With this, the courts may determine that the mother decision to stay home is rational and legitimate.
But sometimes the mother can be forced to find a job.
This ensures fairness between the parents and what they provide for the child.
The usual things that the courts take into consideration when the mother has no job are:
- would the cost of daycare outweigh earning potential
- what are the mother’s work history, qualifications, and skills
- did the mother have to work during the marriage
- was she a stay at home mom during the marriage
Now, let’s talk about how does child support work if the father has no job.
Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child
How Does Child Support Work If The Father Has No Job?
It’s not always the case, but for this example, let’s assume that the father is the non-custodial parent.
There are two ways that child support works if the father has no job:
- he intentionally has no job
- he unintentionally has no job
The courts will be very strict about this.
Intentionally Not Having a Job
If the father has no job intentionally, then the courts will base child support on your imputed income.
When the judge imputes your income, they calculate your child support at a higher amount than you are earning.
But a judge doesn’t do this randomly for child support.
They impute income when the non-custodial parent is intentionally earning less.
Meaning that they are choosing to earn less than is reasonable based on their skillset.
For example, an engineering manager making $150,000 quitting their job to work part-time for $35,000 a year.
They are intentionally working below their capacity and skillset to reduce their child support payments.
If the father got laid off 4 years ago, but will not get a new job, the judge will impute their income.
If the father intentionally has no job and is not paying child support, you should provide the judge with evidence of:
- their tax returns showing their earning potential
- their employment history
- their educational records
- large purchases that they are making
When the judge is considering imputing income for child support, they look at:
- the parent’s education, job training, and employment history
- historical earnings of that parent
- the parent’s current physical and mental health
- whether they were a stay at home parent
- the community’s employment opportunities
Unintentionally Not Having a Job
No matter what, the non-custodial parent is required to inform Georgia Child Support when:
- they are fired from a job
- they are laid off from their job
- they change jobs
- they have a reduction in hours or pay
The non-custodial parent has to inform Georgia Child Support within 10 days of losing their job.
A job lose does not affect a child support order.
Meaning that, even without a job, the non-custodial parent will still owe child support in Georgia.
If they do no pay the child support for an extended period of time, they will owe back child support.
If the non-custodial parent thinks they will be out of work longer than 6 weeks, they should file a petition for child support modification.
The courts will review and potentially modify the child support order for the non-custodial parent.
But if they do not modify the child support, and you have missed payments, let’s talk about back child support in Georgia.
How Much Will You Owe In Back Child Support Georgia?
How much you owe in back child support depends on:
- how many payments you have missed
- how much you pay each month
- interest that you owe on missed payments
Related: Georgia Child Support Calculator
Let’s say your back child support situation looks like this:
- you missed the last two years of child support payments (24 months)
- you pay $300 per month in child support
- you owe 7% interest on your back child support in Georgia
24 months x $300 per month = $7,200
$7,200 x 7% interest = $504
$7,200 + $504 = $7,704
This is a very simplified example.
The interest that you owe on back child support will accrue.
Meaning, over time, you will owe more and more.
Related: How To Get Emergency Custody Orders
How to Request Back Child Support Payments
What should you do if the non-custodial parent owes you back child support?
First things first.
Check with your local Georgia child support office and see if they are handling it already.
Most of the time, they are quick to take action.
If the non-custodial parent owes more than $2,500, things get more serious.
The US Department of State can:
- deny passports
- offset taxes
- garnish wages
- place liens on property
- seize assets
The federal government only gets involved if:
- the non-custodial parent is two years behind on payments
- the amount of back child support payments is more than $2,500
Non-custodial parents who owe back child support in Georgia must pay it in full.
This is EVEN if the the child is over 18 years old.
Next, let’s talk about if the father is not paying child support, what can I do.
If The Father Is Not Paying Child Support What Can I Do?
If the father is not paying child support, what can you do? When a parent misses a child support payment, they are in arrears.
When the non-custodial parent misses payments repeatedly, reach out to your child custody lawyer in Georgia.
They can file a Motion for Contempt.
This allows the courts to help collect back child support in Georgia.
They collect back child support by:
- garnishing wages from their employers with an Income Deduction Order.
- garnish wages from their Unemployment income
- suspend their license until they pay in full
- hold the parent in contempt of court and impose a jail sentence
Imposing a jail sentence for a father not paying child support is not what the courts want to do.
They would rather remove barriers for the child support payments by:
- supporting healthy co-parenting
- encouraging responsible parenting
- help parents with employment
When the father is not paying child support, the courts will start with helping them first.
If they cannot find a job, they will set you up with an employment service.
If you and the mother cannot work together, they will set up mediation or counseling.
It’s in the child’s best interest that the parents work together to raise the child.
The father cannot make child support payments while in jail.
And going to jail places criminal charges on his record that could keep him from getting jobs.
It’s in everyone’s best interests for the courts to push for a healthy parenting relationship.
How To Safely Be Paying Child Support Without a Court Order
Some parents think that they can save money by paying child support without a court order.
The thought is that there can just be an informal agreement between the parents.
The parents who go this route are trying to avoid the expenses and legal process of court-ordered child support.
But when the parents agree on paying child support without a court order, things can get messy later.
This is true even if things ended cordially and you trust your ex to make child support payments.
The real question is, “What happens when the non-custodial parent stops paying child support without a court order?”
Related: Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody
Custodial Parents: Child Support Without a Court Order
If this happens, you won’t have the child support laws on your side.
If the non-custodial parent stops making payments, you’re screwed.
This is true even if you have a child support agreement in writing, signed by both parties.
Since you do not have court-ordered child support in Georgia, the courts will not enforce it.
If the non-custodial parent stops making payments, then you will have to get a child support order from the courts.
After you receive the court-order, then you can start collecting payments.
Non-Custodial Parents: Child Support Without a Court Order
The Georgia child support laws for non-custodial parents paying child support without a court order can be equally as messed up.
As a non-custodial parent, you may think it’s best to start paying child support without a court order.
But, it’s actually in your best interest to get court-ordered child support in Georgia.
Let’s say you’ve been making child support payments of $500 per month for 3 years without a court order.
That comes out to be $18,000.
Since you and the custodial parent were not married, you never had to get court-ordered child support.
You just agreed on paying child support without a court order.
Now, after 3 years, the custodial parent decides that they want court-ordered child support.
The court has no record of you making ANY child support payments.
So, even though you have been paying each month, the courts make you pay $18,000 for three years of back child support.
Does it still feel like you’re saving money now?
It ONLY benefits the custodial parent to have an agreement for paying child support without a court order.
They can go, say, 5 years without a court order and then take you to court for child support.
You will owe one large, lump sum.
When Do Child Support Payments Start?
Child support payments start 4 to 6 weeks after receiving your court ordered child support.
You will send your child support payment to the Division of Child Support Services.
But they don’t rely on you to manually send your child support payments to them.
So, how does child support payments work?
How Does Child Support Payments Work?
After a child support order is given, the child support payments start.
The amount of child support that you owe will be deducted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck.
Georgia’s child support laws are set up like this for convenience.
It’s an easy way for the non-custodial parent to make child support payments.
And it’s a great way for the non-custodial parents to keep records of their child support payments.
What You Should Know About Georgia Child Support Payments
When it comes to child support laws for non-custodial parents, you want to document.
Meaning, every time that you pay Georgia child support, you should document this.
You can document this by paying child support with:
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- automatic bank transfers
No matter what you do, when you are paying child support in Georgia, don’t pay with cash.
When you make child support payments in cash, there is no record of this.
So, if the custodial parents claimed you have back child support, how can you defend yourself?
Sometimes direct child support payments to custodial parents are not the only way to pay child support.
Depending on your child support agreement, you may be paying for:
If you are buying these items as part of your child support, you should still document them.
It may feel weird keeping track of what you spend on your child’s clothing and food, but you need to.
Again, this is to protect yourself when the custodial parent claims unpaid child support.
Related: Divorce Laws in Georgia
Is It Illegal? Georgia Child Support Laws Non Payment
With Georgia child support laws, non-payment of child support comes with a variety of penalties.
Non-payment comes with penalties like:
- contempt citations
- suspended driver’s licenses
- suspended hunting licenses
- revoking or denying passports
- taking tax refunds
- reporting to credit bureaus
- jail time
Georgia’s child support laws want the courts to try administrative routes first with non-payment.
Meaning, before they place someone in jail for non-payment, they will:
- suspend licenses
- deny passports
- garnish wages
Not paying child support is illegal.
Child support is a court order.
Meaning if child support is not paid, the court order is being violated.
This gives the courts authority to place you in jail for non-payment of child support in Georgia.
Related: Divorce as a Stay at Home Mom
When Do You Have To Pay Child Support?
When you have to pay child support depends on your court ordered child support.
Generally, child support in Georgia is due on the 15th of every month.
You will have to start paying child support the month following receiving your court order.
You usually have to pay child support until the child turns 18 years old.
Related: Divorce Process In Georgia
How You Can Save Thousands In Child Support
As a non custodial parent making child support payments, there’s two things you should look for:
- are you eligible for child support modifications?
- do you have court-ordered child support to protect you?
Either way, we can help make sure that your money is being allocated properly.
Meaning that you’re not getting robbed today or in 5 years.
Just fill out the form for a free consultation with one of our family law attorneys.