Lawyer Monthly awarded Meriwether & Tharp Family Law Firm of the Year for the entire nation!!

Thanks for printing!  Don't forget to come back to Meriwether & Tharp, LLC for fresh articles!

Requesting an Accounting of Child Support

Is it possible to request an accounting of child support in Georgia? Before directly addressing the answer to that question, it may be beneficial to first discuss what exactly an accounting of child support is, and why a non-custodial parent might desire an accounting of child support.

What is an Accounting of Child Support?

Generally speaking, an accounting of child support requires a custodial parent to account for their expenses and detail how child support money was used. A non-custodial parent may request an accounting of child support by filing a motion with the court. In some states, a non-custodial parent must allege facts showing why an accounting is necessary. In other states, courts have the discretion to require a custodial parent to detail how child support payments are being used at any time.

Why Seek an Accounting of Child Support?

One very common reason given by non-custodial parents to explain their lack of payment or to explain why they are uncomfortable with paying child support to their former spouse is because they do not believe the custodial parent is using the money for the benefit of the child. One way to address this common concern is to request an accounting of child support. With an accounting, the custodial parent must account for how the child’s expenses are being met, thus assuring the non-custodial parent that his or her payments are indeed benefitting the child.

Does Georgia Recognize the Concept of Child Support Accounting?

Some states allow non-custodial parents to seek an accounting of child support, while others do not. Georgia does not recognize the right of a non-custodial parent to seek an accounting of child support. Cohen v. Barris, 137 S.E.2d 469 (Ga. 1964). In Cohen, a father sought an order of the court requiring his ex-wife to provide an accounting of how child support payments were being applied. In his petition, the father alleged that his ex-wife was not using the funds for the benefit of their children. Although the court agreed that the mother is obligated to use child support funds for the benefit of the children, the court dismissed the father’s claim because a claim for an accounting of child support is not authorized by Georgia law. Id. at 470.