The state of Georgia offers different services related to child support to its citizens. The main agency responsible for these services is the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) under the Georgia Department of Human Services. These services can benefit both the custodial and non-custodial parent. Some of these are associated with child access and visitation, child support payments, fatherhood program, grandparents raising grandchildren, paternity establishment and review of support order. Each of the mentioned services are going to be discussed in detail below.
Child support is a very sensitive topic to most families. This being said, the state of Georgia child support services provides its citizens several assistance that would help certain aspects of child support. With the aim of enhancing the well-being of the children through the stable support from parents, the state of Georgia have devised a system and offered services that would obtain this.
Child Access and Visitation
Georgia child support services is mostly helpful to parents with active cases. At no cost, DCSS can provide the following services: coordinating visitations or parenting time; a non-legal/non-binding mediation between parents; written parenting plans; group parenting education; and counselling on access issues. However, the division does not provide any legal services relating to visitation (e.g. imation and visitation orders establishment). Such should be obtained from other parties offering legal services.
Child Support Payments
The DCSS have replaced paper checks to debit cards or direct deposits as a form of child support payments since 2004. This is a more efficient way of sending child support payments as it reduces the time for the payments to reach the families as well as the delay and loss of payments in the process. Using of debit cards and direct deposits for payments also eliminates the cash checking fees. The clients can have easy access to detailed statements of the transactions and a 24 hour access to the funds.
The custodial parent can choose to receive the support payments either via debit card or direct deposit to their checking/savings account at their local bank. It should be noted that only the custodial parent can be disbursed with the payment for the child support.
The Fatherhood Program, was created in 1997, which aims to provide assistance to the non-custodial parent who are accountable by law to pay child support but lacks the capacity to pay. Although the names says fatherhood, this program caters to both the non-custodial father and mother. Completion of the program usually takes three to nine months. Those that are enrolled in the program are required to pay child support, attend workshops, seek employment and further their education; all of this with the assistance from DCSS.
Non-custodial parents residing within the state of Georgia can participate and enrol in the fatherhood program. However, several circumstances may affect their acceptance in the program, such as lack of high school diploma, having a criminal record, lack of transportation and driver’s license, alcohol and substance abuse, mental health issues, and having a gainful and stable employment. Having one of the mentioned barriers may prevent the applicant from being accepted into the program. However, this can be addressed by the Problem Solving Court Program which offers assistance to non-custodial parents’ transition to self-sufficiency.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
This service is very helpful not only limited to grandparents but also to other relatives having custody of the child needing support from parents. This service is provided at no cost by DCSS through their online Customer Online Services or via referrals through the Division of Aging Services or the Division of Family and Children Services.
The grandparent or the relative raising the child may opt to avail the following services:
This service can determine the location of both of the non-custodial parents, whether local or interstate.
- Paternity Establishment
At no cost, this service can provide genetic testing to establish legal relationship between the child and the father.
- Order Establishment
This service can provide the custodial entity of child orders to ensure the well-being of the child/children through financial and medical support given on a regular basis.
- Order Enforcement
The order enforcement service can provide the enforcement of child support from parents who are not able to provide what was required of them. Orders can be enforced via contempt actions in court, income deductions, withholding unemployment benefits, suspension or revocation of driver’s license, seizing bank account, etc.
- Redirection of Child support Payments
The grandparent or the relative can request the court for the redirection of the child support payments from the parents to them as the one caring for the child/children.
- Child Support Collection and Distribution
This service ensures that the child support payments will be received by the caregiver on time.
- Review of Support Order
This can be requested three years after the child support order has taken its effect.
Paternity establishment services may be obtained by those who wants to obtain legal relationship between the child and the father for child support purposes. This service of is provided by DCSS free of charges. However, the cost for the application for services as well as genetic testing will be covered by the client.
Review of Support Order
The state of Georgia allows the review of the support order, pertaining only to the possible change in the child support amount required by the custodial parent. In case of legal services related to custody and visitation, a private lawyer should be consulted.
This is again a free service provided by the DCSS to custodial parents requiring child order. Similar to the above mentioned services, the assisted negotiation can only revolve around the child support matter (financial and medical support), excluding visitation and custody issues.
The state of Georgia has one of the most detailed and best child support services in the country. All of the above mentioned services can be availed by any residents of the state of Georgia requiring aid for child support. These services are provided by the DCSS at no cost making it easier for the custodial/non-custodial parents as well as the guardians to provide a better environment and ensure the well-being of the child/children.
Related keywords: Georgia child support services, Division of Child Support Services, Georgia
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