Georgia Child Support Collections and Fees
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When an employer receives an order from the Georgia office of child support for wage garnishment, they must honor the order until the employee no longer works for them. If they fail to enforce Georgia child support collection, they may be held liable in a civil action and be subject to civil penalties. Before paying out a lump-sum payment such as a bonus, commission, or severance pay, the employer should check the support order to see if they need to contact the agency issuing the order about the payment. If the order is silent about lump-sum payments, Georgia wage garnishment law does not require the employer to report the lump sum.
Income Subject to Withholding for Child Support Garnishment
Georgia noncustodial parents must consider any source of income as subject to child support collection. Georgia defines income the same way the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) defines income or earnings: compensation paid or payable for personal services. This includes wages, salary, commission, bonuses, or other earnings. Earnings also include pension or other retirement fund payments, payments from an insurance policy, and unemployment compensation.
Bonuses and Other Lump Sum Payments
Georgia does not have a general law that requires an employer to report lump-sum payments in advance of paying them out to an employee subject to a support order. However, the order itself will sometimes stipulate that the employer contact the agency before paying out bonuses, commissions, or severance pay.
Termination of Employment
If an employee subject to a support order stops working for their employer, the employer must immediately contact the issuing agency. The employer should send a copy of the order with the employee's name and address, the company name, the date the employee stopped working for the employer, and the new employer address, if known. The employer should follow these steps when an employee retires as well, and alert the issuing agency of the name and address of the pension administrator.
For the first deduction an employer makes for support payment, they may charge a one-time fee of up to $25 for administrative reimbursement. For all subsequent payments, the employer may charge up to $3 per deduction. The employer may prioritize the fee over the child support payment. Keep in mind that the combined total of the administrative fee and support payment cannot exceed Georgia's maximum garnishment limits.
Penalty for Noncompliance
An employer is bound by law to enforce their employee's support order. If they fail to do so, the issuing agency may bring a civil suit against the employer. The employer may be held liable for the payments owed, plus costs, interest, and reasonable attorneys' fees. In addition, the employer may be charged a civil penalty for violation of the statute for up to $250 for the first violation, and up to $500 for every violation thereafter. An employer that continues to fail to remit payment after a second notice has been sent out may also be held in contempt of court.
Georgia State Office of Child Support – Contact Information
Division of Child Support Services
2 Peachtree St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 657-2780
Fax: (404) 657-3326