Georgia Child Support Enforcement and Atlanta Divorce

Failure to pay court-ordered child support carries serious consequences, even for former football stars. William Andrews, the ex-Atlanta Falcons running back, has found this out the hard way. He was recently arrested for failing to pay support and booked into the Cobb County jail.

The case calls attention to the way that child support enforcement is handled in Georgia.

Child support is often an issue in an Atlanta divorce. The issue can also occur when the parents are not married. Either way, nonpayment of court-ordered support is a serious matter - for all parties concerned, including the child.

Previous Jail Time

William Andrews was a Pro Bowl running back for the Falcons before a knee injury cut short his career in 1983.

In September 2004, Andrews had his first brush with legal sanctions for failing to pay child support. He was jailed in Cobb County for civil contempt due to the nonpayment.

Andrews also served jail time in 2006 in Dekalb County on theft charges in a case involving loan fraud.

The most recent civil contempt action against Andrews for failing to pay child support came in March 2012. He is being held in jail without bond for failing to pay the court-ordered support.

Enforcement Process

The Georgia Department of Human Services oversees a very specific process for enforcing child support orders.

The process begins with scheduling an appointment with the department's Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to open an enforcement case. In order to get a support order or to enforce one, it will be necessary to locate the non-custodial parent. This can sometimes take several months if a parent's whereabouts are unknown.

The next step is to establish paternity. If the parents were not married when the child was born, this is the process for establishing the biological father as the legal father. This can be done by court order or by an administrative order within the DCSS. Much depends, of course, on whether the biological father is willing to admit paternity.

Once a child support order is filed, practical considerations turn to making sure payments are made. It often makes sense to arrange to have the support amount deducted from the non-custodial parent's regular paycheck.

The threat of jail time is only one of a number of enforcement techniques that can be used as part of efforts to collect unpaid support. Others include wage garnishment and the suspension or revocation of drivers' licenses.