DOMESTIC RELATIONS Alimony and Child Support Generally; Enforcement of Duty to Support; Parent and Child Relationship Generally
The Act makes sweeping changes to Georgia's child and spousal support enforcement procedures by shifting the bulk of enforcement authority from the court system to the Child Support Enforcement Agency of the Department of Human Resources (DHR). First, the Act amends several of Georgia's alimony and child support statutes. It removes the statute of limitations for foreign judgments of child or spousal support orders and provides that child or spousal support orders cannot be changed retroactively or become dormant. It makes late child support payments judgments by operation of law, sets a time limit for contempt hearings, and allows for the revocation, denial, or suspension of recreational licenses for support order non-compliance. It requires income deduction orders to be entered with all orders establishing, enforcing, or modifying a support order and allows the IV-D Agency to provide for withholding upon the accrual of a thirty-day arrearage without the need for a hearing or order. The Act also requires notice to the obligor and lays out procedures for contesting withholding orders. Second, the Act amends numerous statutes governing the parent-child relationship. It allows the father, in a DHR-initiated paternity determination petition, to intervene to legitimize the child if the mother consents to such legitimation, and it disentitles the parties to the right to a jury trial in procedures to determine paternity. Under the Act, a party may move that parents and the child or children submit to genetic testing if the motion is accompanied by a sworn affidavit alleging or denying paternity, and the DHR is allowed to order genetic tests when paternity has not been established. The Act creates a rebuttable presumption of paternity, which can be overcome by clear and convincing evidence, and allows for a temporary support order pending determination of parentage. It also directs the trier of fact to receive evidence of the cost of prenatal car, birth, and genetic testing without foundation or third-party testimony. Further, it provides that when both parents have signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and the acknowledgment is recorded in the putative father registry, the acknowledgment constitutes a legal determination of paternity unless a parent rescinds within sixty days. Third, the Act makes extensive amendments and additions to the Child Support Recovery Act. It expands the duty to furnish information to DHR or its authorized contractors, concerning and obligor, to any entity in Georgia including profit, nonprofit, and governmental employers and provides for punishment for noncompliance with such request for information. Also expanded is the duty of all employers doing business in Georgia to report the hiring or rehiring of persons to the state support registry. The Act provides that the final administrative order for support shall have the safe effect as an order of a superior court and shall be enforceable. It also requires the IV-D Agency to provide all involved parties with notice and copies of orders. The Act provides the IV-D Agency with broad authority to identify, and file and perfect liens on an obligor's property, including real and tangible personal property as well as some intangible property. It also directs DHR to safeguard against the unauthorized use or disclosure of certain information. Further, the Act establishes the Department of Administrative Services Bank Math Registry, which will contain information only on obligors whom the IV-D Agency believes owe child support and are not under order, and those who are delinquent by one month or more. The Act specifies procedures to be used by the financial institutions, the IV-D Agency, and the Department of Administrative Services, and establishes punishment for noncooperative financial institutions. Through the Bank Match Registry, the IV-D Agency has the authority to identify, encumber, and/or seize account assets of delinquent obligors. Fourth, the Act provides that the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA) be superseded by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). UIFSA outlines jurisdictional procedures and rules when dealing with out-of-state judgments or parties. It provides extended jurisdiction and full faith and credit among and between the states as well as a method to determine which order is controlling when multiple orders have been issued with regard to an obligor and an obligee.
DOMESTIC RELATIONS Alimony and Child Support Generally; Enforcement of Duty to Support; Parent and Child Relationship Generally,
Ga. St. U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://readingroom.law.gsu.edu/gsulr/vol14/iss1/13