After the order: Keeping track of your child support payments

The court hearings are over and the paperwork has all been signed. Your attorney has helped you and your ex-spouse to work out all the arrangements for visitation and support payments for your children. Now what? Many Georgia parents are not familiar with the process by which child support obligations are collected and recorded. A child support order is a court order that must be complied with to avoid penalties such as wage garnishment, seizure of assets, or even contempt of court charges if it appears that the payments have not been made.

Many decide to pay them directly to the custodial parent; but this option has its risks and challenges. Often, a wage attachment for the support order is a part of the initial agreement; but what if there is a change in employment? Situations like these were used to scam well meaning noncustodial parents into hiring a professional "company" to facilitate their support payments. This "company" was actually three individuals in South Georgia who have now been indicted for setting up and receiving funds through a fraudulent child support payment company.

The noncustodial parents who were victims of this scheme were charged fees for the company's services in collecting and routing their child support payments to the proper agencies. In truth, these people kept not only the fees but the support payments also. Getting this straightened out will be a complicated and expensive process for these unfortunate parents. Knowing how the court will view the status of the payments made to the fraudulent company and if there is any way to get restitution from those who were running the scam will be an important part of getting the victims back on track.

Experts advise against using private companies to make child support payments and note that better options are available. They suggest checking with the person who represented you in the court process where the order was obtained. This person is already familiar with the case and will have the records available should a question arise as to payment or modification of the order. Inquiries may also be made through the local division of a state's child support agency, or to the clerk of court where the order was recorded. Paying a Georgia child support order through the proper channels can make it much more efficient and less stressful for everyone involved.

Source: walb.com, "Three indicted in massive child support fraud scheme," Christian McKinney and Lydia Jennings, June 14, 2013

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