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An Income Deduction Order, commonly referred to as an IDO, is a court order requiring an obligated parent’s or ex-spouse’s employer to take money from that party’s income to satisfy a child support or alimony obligation. Once an IDO is entered and takes effect, the obligated party’s employer will send the child support or alimony payments to Georgia’s Family Support Registry, and the Support Registry will send the payments to the recipient spouse.

In Georgia, the general rule is that Income Deduction Orders or IDOs are automatically entered simultaneously with judgments awarding child support and alimony. The Official Code of Georgia states:

“Except as provided for in paragraph (1) of subsection (a.1) of this Code section, upon the entry of a judgment or order establishing, enforcing, or modifying a child support obligation or spousal support obligation through a court or an administrative process, a separate order for income deduction, if one has not been previously entered, shall be entered. If the obligee is an applicant for child support services under Title IV-D of the federal Social Security Act, the court, referee, or administrative law judge shall furnish copies of the support order and the income deduction order to the IV-D agency.”

O.C.G.A. § 19-6-32 (a)(1). However, an IDO may not be immediately entered in a particular matter if the presiding court “finds there is good cause not to require such immediate withholding; or a written agreement is reached between both parties which provides for an alternative arrangement.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-32 (a.1). 

Although many are not completely comfortable with the idea of an IDO as they require the obligated party’s employer to be made aware of and involved in the obligated party’s support obligation, IDOs may actually be a preferable method of support payment. This is because IDOs eliminate unnecessary contact between the parties, ensure that the support payments are made, and provide the obligated party a record of payment. Thus, the administrative advantages of Income Deduction Orders may actually outweigh the negative connotation that may accompany them.