Many parents in Georgia have difficulty making child support payments.
In fact, 4 out of every 10 non-custodial parents ordered to pay child
support are delinquent. Many of these parents will face jail time. However,
keeping a delinquent parent in jail costs taxpayers $1,500 per month.
In some cases, keeping a person behind bars costs more than the child
As focus turns to a solution for this problem, Georgia residents working
through divorce and child support issues are becoming more and more familiar
with parental accountability courts. These courts are joint efforts between
local courts and Georgia's Child Support Services division. Their
objective is to help parents who are delinquent on child support payments
stay out of prison and overcome obstacles like unemployment and substance
abuse that prevent them from making their payments.
Run by CSS personnel, parental accountability courts work to connect delinquent
parents with community services in their county. Help finding a job and
preparing for an interview, referrals to chemical dependency programs
and similar services all seek to undermine whatever excuses a chronically
delinquent parent may fall back on for not paying child support.
Not every parent in Georgia who falls behind on child support is doing
so on purpose. Many non-custodial parents face real challenges which prevent
them from making child support payments. However, time in jail is unlikely
to improve that parent's economic prospects. At the same time, custodial
parents have a right to expect a reasonable level of support on a consistent basis.
Families dealing with child support issues would be wise to contact an
attorney. An attorney experienced in working through child support issues
can help make sure the best interests of the child remain at the forefront
of what can often be contentious negotiations.