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Child Support Contempt – Pull money from other sources

Child support is an often litigated facet of family law. This is likely because the support itself hinges on the parents’ income and financial circumstances – both of which are subject to change. Some parents file a Petition for Modification of Child Support upon these changed circumstances. Others just stop paying, or change the amount, based on what they believe they should be paying under the changed circumstances. It is these parents who often find themselves on the receiving end of a contempt case. Whether a parent is refusing to pay out of spite or simply cannot afford to pay the ordered support, child support contempt cases keep attorneys, and the trial courts, busy.

Keshia Knight Pulliam’s ex-husband, Ed Hartwell, is one of these parents keeping the courts busy. Keshia Knight Pulliam: His Child Support is Late…Take it Out of His NFL Pension, tmz.com, May 31, 2017. The former spouses have been in and out of court in their pending divorce case for some time. Pulliam is now alleging that Hartwell’s child support payments are always late and that, as of the date of the article, he had not yet made his May payment. As a result, Pulliam filed a motion asking that all “future child support payments come directly from his NFL retirement or disability money.” She’s also asking the court to put him in jail until he is current on the child support arrearage.

So, can she get what she is asking for? In a word, yes. In Georgia, there are several possible punishments for contempt, including incarceration (O.C.G.A. § 1 9-6-28(a)), license suspension (O.C.G.A. § 19-6-28.1), and wage garnishment (O.C.G.A. § 19-6-30). In fact, any Georgia child support order is required to have the following language: “Whenever, in violation of the terms of this order there shall have been a failure to make the support payments due hereunder so that the amount unpaid is equal to or greater than the amount payable for one month, the payments required to be made may be collected by the process of continuing garnishment for support.” Id. Thus, if Hartwell’s May payment was due on May 1, and he had not made the payment by June 1, this clause would kick in and Pulliam is within her rights to ask that his payments come directly from his income sources.

 

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Child Support
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