Enforcement of Child Support, Alimony, Custody & Visitation
North Atlanta Family Lawyer
Both temporary and final orders of the court are subject to enforcement. This includes child custody, visitation, child support, and alimony orders. If you are having trouble collecting on a court order, you need to know your options. If you are having trouble paying on a court order, it is important to understand the consequences of noncompliance.
Consequences of Interference with Custody or Visitation
If one parent interferes with a child custody order by preventing visitation or custody, the other parent is permitted to file a motion with the Georgia Courts to request that parent be held in contempt. The procedures differ depending on which county you reside in.
During a contempt hearing, the courts can change visitation arrangements. However, they are unable to change custody. When the custodial parent continuously prevents the non-custodial parent from seeing his or her child, this could be considered grounds a change in custody. Our Sandy Springs-based child custody lawyer can help you file a separate motion for modification of your child custody order.
Under Georgia law, if you interfere with a court-ordered custody, you could be charged with a crime. If a non-custodial parent keeps a minor away from the custodial parent, it is considered criminal interference. Even it only happened once; you could be charged with a misdemeanor. Penalties for child custody interference include fines, jail time, or felony convictions. Finally, if one parent leaves the state with their child after the outlined, legal out-of-state visitation timeframe, it is considered a felony.
Even if you believe the other parent is a danger your child, you should be very careful about taking matters into your own hands.
Contact a North Atlanta divorce attorney at Brenner Law Group, LLC if you are having trouble with:
- Blocking visitation
- Blocking communication with or from the child
- Children refusing to visit at scheduled times
- Denying visitation for non-payment of child support
- A parent is consistently missing visitation or violating the schedule
Enforcement of Orders for Payment of Child Support or Alimony in Georgia
Georgia courts will enforce orders for payment of child support and alimony. If your ex-spouse is behind in providing alimony, you can file a motion asking the court to hold him or her in contempt and require payment.
If you are behind in paying support, and if the reason is that you are unable to pay the court-ordered amount, you must go to court to seek a modification. The court will not modify the amount you need to pay retroactively.
Also, the child or children hold the right to receive child support. The parent receiving the support is therefore not permitted to waive the right of the children to support.
Enforcement of Child Support from Other States
If you wish to enforce or modify a child support order from another state or to bring a claim for child support against someone who is not a resident of Georgia, then you will probably bring an action under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). At this time, every state in the United States has adopted this legislation.
For Georgia, see O.C.G.A. 19-11-110. This legislation standardizes the procedure for bringing the action so that we don’t get caught up in the procedural challenges of litigating between states.
What Actions Can I Bring?
The following proceedings may be brought under the UIFSA:
- Establishing an order for child or spousal support
- Enforcing support orders and incoming withholding without order of another state without registration
- Registering an out-of-state spousal or child support order to be enforced in Georgia.
- Modifying a spousal or child support order by Georgia tribunal
- Registering an out of state modification order for child support
- Determination of parentage
- Asserting jurisdiction over non-Georgia residents.
What Conditions Have to Be Met?
The statute gives the Georgia Court authority to preside over the action (jurisdiction) if one of the following conditions is met:
- They are served in Georgia
- They consent to Georgia jurisdiction
- They enter a general appearance
- They waive the contest to personal jurisdiction
- They lived with the child in Georgia
- They provided parental support or expenses for the child in Georgia
- They engaged in sex while in Georgia, and the child was conceived by that act
- They have asserted parentage of the child in Georgia
If one of those conditions is met, then the court may establish, enforce, or modify a support order regardless of whether one or both parents are currently in the state of Georgia.
If the co-parent moves out of state, can they seek modifications of the child custody order in their new state of residence?
UIFSA addresses this concern, it states as long as one of the parents or child remains a resident of Georgia, then the Georgia courts maintain exclusive jurisdiction over the child custody matter, unless all parties consent to have another state modify the order. Thus, unless all parties have consented to the new state, a co-parent may not seek modifications of child support orders.
Contact a North Atlanta Child Custody Lawyer
The courts take enforcement of orders seriously. If you have a question about the enforcement of orders for child custody, visitation, child support or spousal support, don't hesitate to call Brenner Law Group, LLC at (404) 418-4006 to consult with an attorney.