Father Reduces Child Support Payments, Gets Harassed by State

One man recently encountered issues with child support payments pursuant to his divorce, something that may be encountered by Georgia parents as well. He and his ex-wife divorced and the man agreed to pay $894 per month in child support for the couple's son. After a period of time, the man's ex-wife desired to move back to her native country of Malaysia, which the man consented to. Since the cost of living is cheaper in Malaysia, the man was able to decrease his child support obligation, agreeing to instead pay $600 per month.

The State of Florida, where the couple handled their divorce, then began to threaten the man with legal action, claiming that he was $7,300 behind in child support payments. They suspended his license and notified him that they may contact the IRS and place a negative mark on his credit report. Upon investigating, the man discovered that he had actually overpaid by $494, but was unable to obtain a straight answer from anyone.

After contacting the state Department of Revenue, they found that they had not worked his request in a timely manner, which is why they began harassing him in the first place. Luckily, the state finally admitted the error was theirs and processed the appropriate paperwork to solve the problem.

The ordering of child support payments is a tool to ensure that a child is supported financially by both the custodial and non-custodial parents. In determining a fair amount for the non-custodial parent to pay, the State of Georgia applies a shared income method. This method utilizes a rate table that sets amounts that should meet a child's financial needs based on various factors. This amount can be later modified with the agreement of the court if a change in circumstances occurs that would necessitate an increase or decrease in the amount such as a change in the cost of living of one of the parents or a change in their incomes.

Although this case represents an unfortunate lack of communication in the government, it does illustrate how parents can work together to create and adjust child support arrangements that meet everyone's needs. Of course, the legal landscape can still present challenges, so working with an experienced attorney may be helpful to work towards the best possible outcome.

Source: WSVN 7 News, "Help Me Howard: Child Support," Patrick Fraser, Aug. 5 2013

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