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Child Abandonment

Rome, GA |

What qualifies as child abandonment in Georgia? My ex pays child support but there are periods of more than 30 days that go by before he pays something.

Attorney Answers 3


The criminal offense of abandonment occurs when no support is paid for a period of over 30 days. It could land him in jail. That could prove a bad idea as he might lose his job and you might then not get the support he pays now. If the arrearage is small, use common sense and work with him. If he's way behind, see a lawyer to weigh options including contempt, abandonment, letting the state collect, garnishment, etc.

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First, you may want to reference O.C.G.A. section 19-10-1 which defines child abandonment as "(a) A child abandoned by its father or mother shall be considered to be in a dependent condition when the father or mother does not furnish sufficient food, clothing, or shelter for the needs of the child. (b) If any father or mother willfully and voluntarily abandons his or her child, either legitimate or born out of wedlock, leaving it in a dependent condition, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. " The statue further explains how there could be higher punishments as well depending on the parents behavior. Additionally a parent's rights may be terminated if it is found that the parent abandoned his interest in the child by failing to create a bond, spend time with the child, or support the child. If you have an order from a court through a previous suit that requires him to pay child support, I would first attempt to contact Child Support Services to see if they can assist you in the enforcement of child support. Also, he can be made to pay directly through child support services or have his paycheck garnished if he is behind more than one month's support. Some counties have also started employing jail time for those fathers who are in arrears of child support. My suggestion would be to start with Child Support Services and then consider hiring an attorney if they cannot assist you. Consider consulting their website at:

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If you need assistance receiving / collecting child support payments, you might apply for services with the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). DCSS can collect the child support payments and electronically transfer them into a checking or savings account at a local bank or put the funds on a debit card that will be sent to you. Read more at

This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as nor does it constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Do not rely on this answer in prosecuting or defending against any criminal or civil legal action. Speak to an attorney in your area about how to protect yourself and your interests.

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