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The importance of child support

Some single parents in Georgia may struggle to support themselves and their children. This is where child support from the other parent becomes important, but one study indicates that child support is on the decline. In 2014, less than half of eligible parents had a child support agreement in place compared to 60 percent 10 years earlier.

With the number of children born out of wedlock appearing to level off at about 40 percent and most of those children remaining in single-parent households, it is important that parents have access to child support. Children whose parents receive child support tend to have fewer behavioral problems and better cognitive skills. This is linked to a number of factors, including children's access to resources and less overall stress for the custodial parent.

It is more common for the mother to be the custodial parent than the father, and when child support payments are in place, children also tend to have more contact with their fathers. This is also associated with more positive outcomes for children.

Custodial parents who have established a child support agreement can go through the local or state child support enforcement agency to collect that child support if necessary. The wages, tax refund, bonuses or other income of the parent who owes support might be garnished. Other legal steps may be taken as well. If a parent does not have a legal child support agreement with the other parent, they may want to speak to an attorney about putting an agreement in place. If a parent who owes child support loses their job or has some other major life change that prevents them paying what they owe, then they can go to court and request a modification in child support to reflect their new income.

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