Facing unprecedented levels of unpaid child support, many states are seeking new methods for improving child support collection. Several states, for example, are going after casino winnings as a source of income from which to collect.
Indiana recently passed a law to hold back casino winnings from deadbeat parents. The Indiana Department of Child Services estimates more than 165,000 parents of Indiana children are at least $2,000 behind on their child support. Overall, children in that state are owed more than $2 billion in unpaid child support.
The State of Colorado passed a similar law in 2008. The Colorado Department of Human Services’ Division of Child Support Enforcement estimates that withholding gambling winnings from people with unpaid child support obligations resulted in the collection of more than $320 million in delinquent payments. Other states are considering similar measures.
The truth is, every state’s child support policy is intended to uphold the principle that every child has the right to expect financial support from both parents. When parents don’t meet their obligations for whatever reason, the children are the losers.
Child Support Enforcement Mechanisms in Georgia
In Georgia, when a non-custodial parent isn’t paying child support or providing medical insurance coverage as ordered by a court, the custodial parent has a number of options to enforce those orders. At the same time, parents who are behind on their child support or aren’t providing court-ordered medical coverage also have options to resolve the situation.
Whatever your situation, you need good legal advice. Talk to an attorney, and also contact the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). If you can’t afford your child support, the Georgia Fatherhood Program through the DCSS may be able to assist you (the program is for both fathers and mothers who have been ordered to pay child support).
If you aren’t receiving the child support or medical coverage a court has ordered, your first step is generally to file a contempt of court action against your child’s other parent. A non-custodial parents who is found in contempt of court can be fined, sentenced to jail or both — and can be held accountable for the full amount of past-due child support and medical insurance.
Georgia has a number of child support enforcement methods available, including:
- Withholding child support from paychecks, unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation benefits
- Filing liens to seize bank accounts, lump-sum worker’s compensation settlements, real estate or personal property
- Intercepting federal and/or state tax refunds
- Intercepting lottery winnings of more than $2,500
- Suspending or revoking driver’s licenses and/or professional, occupational, hunting and fishing licenses until the child support is brought current
- Denying, suspending or revoking the passport of someone who owes more than $2,500 in child support
- Reporting delinquent parents to credit bureaus
- Reviewing and changing child support orders periodically
Whether you are owed child support or are in arrears, don’t ignore the situation. The sooner you take action to resolve the situation, the easier it generally is to do so. Remember, your child is the one who suffers from unpaid child support.
- “Child Support Collection – A National Disgrace” (Moses Apsan, Esq., Jornal.US News Service, July 26, 2010)
- “The Child Support Process” (Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services)