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Income Deduction Order
Income deduction orders are court orders directing that child support payments be withheld from the wages of the parent who has to pay child support. In Georgia, all orders for child support issued after January 1, 1994 must provide for the immediate withholding of the support obligation from the wages of the obligated parent. This automatic withholding is done by virtue of an Income Deduction Order (IDO).
Income deduction orders deduct child support from the parent’s pay check before the paying parent receives it.
Essentially, in every case involving an order of child support, the court will contemporaneously enter an IDO as well. An IDO will automatically be entered by the court in every child support case unless the following exceptions apply:
- There is a written agreement between the parties which provides for an alternative agreement, or
- There is a court order finding that there is good cause not to require an IDO. There must also be a written determination made by the court that an IDO is not in the child best interests. If the action is one for the modification of child support, there must also be proof that the obligated parent has made timely payment of previously ordered child support.
See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-32. The purpose behind mandating that IDOs be entered in every child support matter absent an agreement or court order to the contrary is to establish a speedy and simple procedure that ensures child support is paid promptly and efficiently. Department of Human Resources v. Word, 265 Ga. 461 (1995).
Regardless of the positive intent of Georgia law concerning income deduction orders, many obligated parents resent the idea of having their child support payments deducted from their pay checks, either because they do not want their employers involved in their personal affairs or because they do not want to be labelled with the stigma that is often associated with the deduction of wages for child support obligations. However, non-custodial parents faced with income deduction orders should know that IDOs not only protect the custodial parent but also protect the non-custodial parent as well. Because income deduction orders ensure that the child support is deducted from the parent’s pay check before the paying parent receives it, it is certain that the child support payment will be paid on time and in accordance with the court order.
Additionally, income deduction orders eliminate the need for the paying parent to have contact with the receiving parent. This may be especially advantageous in situations where there are high levels of conflict between the parents. The obligated parent will always know that his or her payment was received by the custodial parent, and the custodial parent will never have to worry that the payment will be forgotten or arrive late.
Income deduction orders are not necessary in every case, and if you and your co-parent are able to communicate and work together effectively concerning child support, it may be best to agree that an IDO is not currently necessary. If circumstances ever change, and the parents are no longer able to work together regarding child support, Georgia law allows for the recipient parents to obtain income deduction orders to ensure payment of child support.