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What are your options when your ex stops paying child support?

Going through a divorce is an emotionally and financially difficult process. Whether the courts have already finalized your divorce or you’re still waiting, you likely depend on the ordered amount of child support to properly care for your children. After all, taking care of minor children is an expensive task. Child care is costly, to say nothing of medical expenses, school supplies, clothing, food and shelter for your dependents.

Many parents take the responsibility of child support seriously. No matter how upset they are about divorce, they know that the children should always come first. Sadly, some parents view child support negatively and will do anything they can to avoid paying child support, such as quitting or frequently changing jobs or even working a job that pays under the table. You need to know your options for child support enforcement in a Georgia divorce.

You can’t just deny parenting time or visitation

While your first instinct may be to deny your ex time with your children until he or she pays for their care and needs, doing so could cause issues for you. Like child support, parenting time and visitation come in the form of a court order. Violating that could strengthen your ex’s claim for full custody or even leave you at risk of a modification hearing after the divorce where you could lose custody of your children.

Instead of denying visitation, make certain that you carefully document every missed payment. That can help you bolster your own position during custody hearings or help you when you seek enforcement from the state.

How does Georgia enforce child support payments?

If your ex refused to pay the full amount as ordered by the courts or isn’t paying anything at all for the children, enforcement actions may become necessary. Thankfully, Georgia has a host of options for helping enforce child support orders when one parent won’t pay.

The first is income withholding. This is typically done by an employer, as soon as the courts issue an order of support. This system makes support simple for everyone involved. Sadly, some people will take drastic measures to avoid having any income withheld. In that scenario, additional enforcement efforts may be required.

If your ex receives unemployment, the state may seize those checks until the amount of support in arrears is repaid. They may also intercept state and federal income tax returns for the same purposes. Georgia courts can also suspend or revoke professional, occupational and even driver’s licenses of parents who don’t pay child support.

They can also file a lien against bank accounts and personal assets, such as real estate. They may also report the non-payment to the credit bureaus, which can keep your ex from securing a mortgage or even a job. All of this can help ensure that you receive the support your children deserve during and after a divorce.