Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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The legal issues surrounding a child support dispute

Two of the legal issues that can arise when parents end their marriage are child custody and child support. These issues can also lead to a dispute requiring the intervention of a Georgia court to resolve in situations in which the parties are not married. When this happens, establishing paternity of the child is the first step in resolving the dispute.

In cases in which the parents were not married when a child was born, the legal rights and obligations of the father must be established. This can be accomplished by the mother and father voluntarily acknowledging the relationship between the father and the child, or it can be established by court order. Courts cannot order a father to pay child support until it has been established that he is the parent of the child. Once paternity has been proven, courts have the authority to deal with such issues as child custody, visitation plans, parenting time and child support.

Responsibility for the support of a child falls on both parents regardless of a divorce or other circumstances affecting the relationship between the mother and the father. Courts usually apply a formula that uses parental income and other factors to arrive at the amount of child support each parent should provide. Enforcement of child support orders can be accomplished through wage garnishment, driver's license suspension and seizure of the nonpaying parent's tax refund.

If a parent's economic circumstances change making it difficult or impossible to meet to pay child support, it is possible to apply for a modification. Family law attorneys will advise their clients that even if a modification is granted, it is prospective only and has no effect on any amounts that may be in arrears.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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