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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, according to the court order or agreement, and 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.
Always pay your child support using a traceable and provable method.
Never Pay in Cash
You should never pay your child support obligation 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.
Practice Pointer - Child Support is for Your Children, not Your Former Spouse
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.
Check or Money Order
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.
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.
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 (continue reading).
Turning it Over to the Government
Even if the issue of child support has been settled in your case, by virtue of an agreement with your co-parent or a court order mandating child support, custodial parents still may face hardships in ensuring that their child support orders are actually complied with by the other parent. In these circumstances, a custodial parent may seek government assistance in the enforcement of the order (continue reading).