How Should I Pay Child Support?
Many non-custodial parents who are obligated to pay child support often wonder: "What is the best method of paying child support?" The answer to this question is quite simple:
- Always pay your child support on time;
- Pay according to the court order or agreement;
- Pay by a traceable and provable method.
Additionally, always keep records or receipts of payment. There are several payment methods that are traceable and that will ensure that you comply with the court order or agreement that controls your child support arrangement. These methods, as well as other child support payment tips, are outlined below.
M&T's Practice Pointer
Always pay your child support using a traceable and provable method. Do not pay in cash.
Never Pay Child Support in Cash
You should never pay child support in cash unless you get receipts. The problem with making cash child support payments is that cash payments do not provide proof of payment. If the other parent later claims that you have never paid, you will need some way to prove that you have complied with your obligation. If you pay your support obligation in cash, you could face the nightmare scenario of having to pay twice. This may occur if your co-parent petitions the court for an award of back child support. If you have no proof of payment, it will be very hard to prove to the court that you have indeed paid. Thus, the best way to make your child support payment is by using a method that is easily traceable and provable.
Paying Child Support by Check or Money Order
While it is not advisable to pay child support in cash, one method of payment that will ensure that you are able to provide the court or your co-parent proof of payment is by making your child support payment with a check or money order. Making your payments using a check or money order is advisable because the methods provide written proof of any payment that is traceable either through your bank records or by the receipts that are provided with money orders. Keep any and all receipts and make a habit of recording your payments along with the date of each transaction for easy reference in case of any dispute.
Paying by Direct Deposit or Automatic Payment
A second effective way to make your child support payment in a way that ensures you have proof of payment is to make your payments through direct deposit or automatic payment. Similar to how you may have direct deposit set up for your pay check or how you may have automatic payments set up for your bill pay, you may make your child support payments in this manner as well. You may either speak with your employer about having a portion of your paycheck forwarded to your co-parent, or you may speak with your bank about have recurring automatic transactions made between your account and your co-parent's account in satisfaction of your child support obligation. Like payment by check or money order, these methods also provide easily traceable ways to make your payments, as your bank or employer will maintain records of each transaction. Please note, however, that several banks now have statements on their web sites that indicate electronic payments are not to be used for child support payments and keep the risks of bank error in mind when effectuating these payments.
Child Support is for Your Children
Child support is for your children not your former spouse/co-parent. Always try to make your payment on time and according to the court's mandates. Remember, child support is for your children; and if child support payments are not made, only your children will suffer. With this being said, however, do not let your co-parent pressure you into agreeing to pay early or over paying. Comply with your court order or court approved agreement concerning child support. Child support does not belong to your ex; it is for the care and maintenance of your children. Your ex may not force you into paying an amount that does not comply with your court order. Moreover, overpayments maybe considered voluntary overpayments of child support, rather than early payments of future child support and, as such, you may not get proper credit for these payments in the event of a dispute.
Child Support Payment FAQs
Q Can child support be automatically deducted from my paycheck?
Yes it can. Income deduction orders (IDOs) deduct child support from the parent's pay check before the paying parent receives it. IDOs are court ordered and they will automatically be entered by the court in every child support case unless certain exceptions apply.
Q What if payments are not being made? Or I can't locate the paying parent.
If you find yourself in the position where child support payments are not being made and you do not have the resources to hire an attorney to help you - you may want to get the state government involved. In Georgia, the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is the governmental agency that is designed to provide Georgia families with child support assistance.