Although there are import legal considerations at issue in every divorce matter, the welfare of dependent children when present becomes a high priority for Georgia family law courts. However, understanding the respective rights and responsibilities of the individual parents can be confusing because there are different classifications of child support.
The primary difference in practical terms for the parents is to whom the parent paying support submits the court-ordered monthly payment - either directly to the custodial parent or to the state of Georgia. If the child support payments are timely paid and are in accordance with the judge's orders, the child support flows directly between the parents.
However, in other situation, the support enforcement department becomes involved, such as where the custodial parent requires state assistance in locating the other parent or establishing or collecting support, the custodial parent is receiving some form of public assistance, or someone other than a parent, such as a relative or foster parent, has custody of the child.
One consideration to be aware of is child support payments are not etched in stone. Although required to be followed as an order of the court unless modified, it is not unusual for a change of circumstance to occur that merits a review of the existing child support order. A family law attorney can explain that a change in employment, a remarriage or changes in the needs of the child are examples that may appropriately trigger a modification. In cases where the paying parent is seeking a modification due to an adverse change in financial circumstances, it is important to know that even if a modification is granted, it will have no effect on any past due amounts, however.