Two very knowledgeable employees of the Georgia Commission on Child Support gave nuts-and-bolts advice about collecting child support at a recent meeting of the DeKalb Bar Association Family Law Section. The speakers explained how to collect child support through automatic payroll deductions. Such deductions can be very helpful in situations in which a parent who has been ordered to pay child support is working and earning money but is failing to send the ordered child support. When the payroll deduction process is used, the paying parent’s employer subtracts child support from the paying parent’s paycheck and sends it to to the Family Support Registry. The Family Support Registry then forwards these funds to the person who is entitled to collect child support.
Patricia Buonodono, Project Director and Staff Attorney to the Commission, and Elaine Johnson, who serves as the Commission’s Executive Program Manager, detailed when and how payroll deduction can be used to collect child support.
All payroll deductions of child support (or combinations of child support and alimony) must be processed through the Family Support Registry. Payments made directly from one parent to the other, without payroll deduction, need not be made through the Family Support Registry.
The process of setting up an automatic payroll deduction involves a number of forms and documents, each of which must be correctly completed in order for the process to work:
- There must be a separate income deduction order; these provisions cannot simply be included in a child support order.
- The income deduction order must utilize the format set out in Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.12.
- The income deduction order must be sent to the Family Support Registry, together with a Family Support Registry registration form and a copy of the underlying child support order.
- A copy of the income deduction order, a notice to payor, and an income withholding order must be sent to the paying party’s employer. The income withholding order should neither be signed by a judge nor filed with the clerk of court.
- A copy of the income deduction order and the statement of rights, remedies and duties must be sent to the paying party.
- All of these forms can be found on the commission’s web site, together with a one page guide to the process.
- When one paying parent has several income deduction orders in place, the amounts to be paid to each recipient is determined by a distribution matrix established by federal rules.
Extensive information about this process can be found on the commission’s web site under “Income Deduction in Georgia.” In addition, information provided by Georgia Legal Aid regarding collecting child support can be found HERE.
Georgia Lord is a Board Member of the DeKalb Bar Association Family Section.
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