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Georgia State Law

A. General/Program-At-A-Glance

A1. How many local IV-D offices are in your state (excluding agencies with cooperative agreements)?
59 local child support offices and 9 County offices administered by the county District Attorney.
A2. Does your state have statutes that define the attorney-client relationship between the state's attorney and the agency only?
No
A2.1. If yes, what is the statutory citation?
N/A
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A2.2. Did your state have the state's bar counsel issue an opinion setting the attorney-client relationship?
No.
A2.3. If yes, please explain.
N/A

B. UIFSA

B1. What is the statutory citation for your state's UIFSA?
O.C.G.A. 19-11-100 through 19-11-191
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B2. How many copies or sets of documents does your state need for an intergovernmental case referral?
For information regarding Georgia's Intergovernmental Forms Requirements, please visit the "For Intergovernmental Agencies" under the General Information section of the GA DCSS website: http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/georgia-uifsa-requirements.

C. Reciprocity

C1. With which foreign countries does your state have a state level reciprocal agreement for child support enforcement? (Do not include federal foreign reciprocating countries in your answer.)
The Federal OCSE website shows the updated listing of countries with which the United States has reciprocating agreements: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/foreign-reciprocating-countries. Georgia also has agreements with Germany and Mexico.
C1.1. Does your state exercise its option to receive Federal Funding Participation (FFP) for enforcement of spousal-only orders for foreign reciprocating countries?
No
C1.2. If yes, please explain.
N/A
C2. Has your state established reciprocity with any Native American tribal courts?
No
C2.1. If yes, list the tribes and identify services provided, if less than full services.
N/A
C3. Does your state accept direct applications from parents in non-reciprocating or non-treaty countries? **
Yes
C4. When a Hague Convention country seeks registration of a Convention support order in your state, does your state allow the country to send an abstract (or summary) of the order on the Hague Abstract of a Decision form in lieu of the complete text? (See UIFSA 706 (b) (1).) **
Yes, Georgia allows an abstract (or summary) of the Convention support order to be sent on the Hague form for registration for registration purposes. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated O.C.G.A 19-11-141.1(b)(1) states that the request for the registration of a convention support order must be accompanied by: (1) A complete text of the support order or an abstract or extract of the support order drawn up by the issuing foreign tribunal, which may be in the form recommended by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

D. Age of Majority

D1. What is the age of majority in your state?
Age 18: Support order entered after 7/1/92 may provide for the extension of child support to age 20, if the child is still in high school.
D2. What is the statutory citation for the age of majority?
O.C.G.A. 39-1-1
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D3. If not addressed in the order, at what age is child support automatically terminated as a matter of state law? Qualify, if necessary.
Age 18 unless specified otherwise.
D4. Does the date of the order determine the law that is applied?
Yes
D4.1. If yes, please explain.
Refer to D1
D5. Does child support end if the child leaves the household, but does not emancipate?
No
D5.1. Optional comments regarding emancipation.
The answer to D5 generally relates to a child who marries, enters the military and other similar actions. The court makes this determination for issues other than those mentioned.
D6. Does your state allow support to be paid beyond the age of majority under any circumstances (for example, the child is handicapped or in college)?
Yes
D6.1. If yes, please explain.
If specified in an order. Orders issued by OCSS state that support may continue to age 20 if the child is enrolled in secondary school (high school). Other examples in private orders might include extraordinary medical needs, handicapped, etc.
D7. Does your state automatically reduce current support owed for remaining children after one of the children in an order reaches the age of majority or otherwise emancipates?
No
D7.1. If yes, please describe the procedure.
Some GA OCSS orders have language that reduces support as each child emancipates, but only those orders issued after 2005.
D8. Does your state accept a application from a party after all of the children on the case have emancipated?
GA DCSS does not generally accept applications for cases in which the child(ren) have emancipated and current support is no longer due. Continued services will be provided on existing, active cases in which there are no minor or dependent children (i.e. when a child emancipates) will continue being enforced until such time as the case is paid in full, or qualifies for federal case closure. Under limited circumstances, applications may be processed where no minor child(ren) is involved on cases with a Georgia IV-D order.
D8.1 If not, how does this affect interstate referrals?
If GA DCSS receives an intergovernmental request for enforcement of a NTANF arrears-only case, we will accept and work the case.

E. Statute of Limitations

E1. What is your State's statute of limitations for collection of past-due support?
None for child support or spousal support pursuant to O.C.G.A. 9-12-60(d) for orders issued on or after July 1, 1997.
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E2. What is your State's statute of limitations for paternity establishment?
Paternity must be established before the child's 18th birthday.
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E3. Is dormancy revival/renewal possible?
Yes
E3.1. If yes, please explain the circumstances when it's possible and how long it's possible.
A judgment becomes dormant after 7 years in GA - and can be "revived" for 3 more years.
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F. Support Details

F1. What guideline type or method does your state use to calculate child support (for example, Shared Income Model, Percentage of Income Model, Melson Formula)?
Guidelines effective January 1, 2007 follow a shared income model under Georgia code section O.C.G.A. 19-6-15. Orders prior to that date were based on a percent of the non-custodial parent's gross income.
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F2. Does your state charge interest on arrears?
Yes
F2.1. If yes, please indicate the amount of interest charged and any related conditions.
Prior to 12/31/2006, Georgia orders accrued interest at the rate of 12 percent per year. The interest rate was lowered to 7 percent per year effective January 1, 2007. This change is not retroactive. GA OCSS will enforce interest on a foreign order that is registered in GA, however for orders issued in GA, OCSS only enforces interest on orders established by OCSS.
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F3. Does your state charge interest on retroactive support?
No
F3.1. If yes, please indicate the amount of interest charged and any related conditions.
N/A
F4. Does your state charge interest on adjudicated arrears?
Yes
F4.1. If yes, please indicate the amount of interest charged and any related conditions.
12% per year through December 31, 2006. 7% per year effective January 1, 2007. The lower interest rate change was not retroactive.
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F5. Will your state enforce a medical debt for 50 percent of the uninsured portion?
No
F5.1. If yes, under what circumstances?
We will not attempt to enforce a medical support debt unless previously reduced to a dollar amount in a judgment.
F6. Does your state elect to recover costs or charge fees in your IV-D state plan?
Yes
F6.1. If yes, what costs are recovered from or fees charged to the obligee?
Review and Modification Fee: Effective July 1, 2007, Georgia OCSS policy requires a $100.00 "non-refundable" Modification Review application fee. This fee applies to in-state and interstate cases, unless exempt. The requesting party and/or state will be notified if the Modification fee is required. Annual Maintenance Fee: Effective October 1, 2018 an annual maintenance $35.00 fee is collected for each never TANF case where the State has collected at least $550.00 of child support. Paternity Testing Fee: Per state law and effective July 1, 2015, the obligee is responsible for the paternity test fees if the obligor is excluded via testing.
F6.2. If yes, what costs are recovered from or fees charged to the obligor?
Georgia deducts a $15.00 administrative processing fee against the federal tax intercept collection received by the state. Paternity Testing Fee: Per state law and effective July 1, 2015, the obligor is responsible for the paternity test fees if the obligor is included via testing.
F7. Does your state recover costs on behalf of the initiating state?
No
F7.1. Optional comments regarding recovery of initiating state's fees.
If the interstate request asks for fees, the parent may be notified when the initiating state asks for them to be collected. That way if the other state's arrears balance differs, it may be the cause and the parent will be advised of such.
F8. What is the statutory citation for your state's long-arm statute to establish or enforce child support?
O.C.G.A. 19-7-41 and 19-11-110
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F9. Does your state establish, enforce, or modify spousal maintenance orders?
Yes
F9.1. If yes, under what circumstances?
We enforce spousal support only when the custodian's child is simultaneously receiving child support services. When the child emancipates, we no longer enforce spousal support.
F10. Does your state require the initiating state to include information about the new spouse or partner upon a request for establishment or modification? (See General Testimony, AT-11-07)
No
F10.1. Optional comments regarding required information on spouse or partner.
This may vary from one circuit to the next. If required, a request will be sent to the other state initiating the UIFSA action.
F11. How does your state impose and collect the mandatory annual fee applicable to IV-D cases for people who never received IV-A assistance?
O.C.G.A 19-11-6 (f) The department shall retain such fee and deduct such fee from child support collections before disbursement to the obligee. (g) Income withholding as well as by any other enforcement remedy available to the IV-D agency responsible for child support enforcement.
F11.1. Does your state collect the fee by retaining the support collected on behalf of the person but not the first $500?
Yes.
F11.2 Does your state collect the fee from the person applying for IV-D services?
No.
F11.3. Does your state collect the fee from the absent parent?
No.
F11.4. Does your state pay the fee out of its own funds?
No
F12. When did your state implement the required Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) limited-assignment provision?
The State implemented the assignment requirement pursuant to section 408(1)(3) of the Act, as amended by the DRA of 2005 on October 1, 2009.
F13. Will your state pass through (and disregard for TANF eligibility purposes) the excepted portion to families in current assistance cases?
The State will not participate in the pass-through provision for Current Assistance cases under section 457(a)(7)(B) of the ACT, as amended by DRA.
F14. Does your state participate in the pass-through in former assistance cases?
The State will not participate in the pass-through provisions for Former Assistance cases under section 457(a)(7)(A) of the Act, as amended by the DRA.
F14.1. If yes, provide the date.
N/A
F15. Will your state discontinue eligible assignments under the DRA of 2005?
No
F15.1. If yes, list the eligible assignments your state would discontinue.
N/A
F15.2. When will your state discontinue each type of assignment?
N/A
F16. Does your state follow PRWORA or DRA distribution ordering rules in former assistance cases?
The State continues to distribute all collections according to PRWORA distribution, i.e. former section 457 (a)(2)(B) of the Act as in effect prior to 10/1/09.
F17. What are your state's requirements to redirect payments from the court-order payee when a child on the order is receiving TANF with a different payee?
For information regarding Georgia's Intergovernmental Forms Requirements, please visit the "For Intergovernmental Agencies" under the General Information section of the GA DCSS website: http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/georgia-uifsa-requirements.
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F17.1. What are your state's requirements to redirect payments from the court-order payee when a child on the order is receiving Medicaid only with a different payee?
For information regarding Georgia's Intergovernmental Forms Requirements, please visit the "For Intergovernmental Agencies" under the General Information section of the GA DCSS website: http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/georgia-uifsa-requirements.
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F17.2. What are your state's requirements to redirect payments from the court-order payee when a child on the order is with a different payee and not receiving TANF or Medicaid only?
For information regarding Georgia's Intergovernmental Forms Requirements, please visit the "For Intergovernmental Agencies" under the General Information section of the GA DCSS website: http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/georgia-uifsa-requirements.
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F17.3. How does your state collect the $25.00 annual fee on never-TANF cases?
O.C.G.A 19-11-6 (f) The fee is retained through income withholding as well as by any other enforcement remedy available.
F18. Will your state recover costs from a U.S. resident non-custodial parent in foreign reciprocating or treaty cases? **
Yes
F18.1 If yes, describe all costs arising in practice (for example, court costs or legal fees). **
OCGA 19-11-132 states a responding tribunal of Georgia may assess against an obligor filing fees, reasonable attorney's fees, other costs, and necessary travel and other reasonable expenses incurred by the obligee and the obligee's witnesses.
F19. Does your state send CSENet transactions to request interest information?(MSC R GRINT)
No
F20. Does your state send CSENet transactions to provide another state with interest and arrears information? (MSC P GSTAI)
No

G. Income Withholding

G1. What specific source of income is not subject to withholding?
TANF, SSI, VA Disability
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G2. Does your state have any limits on income withholding in addition to the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) limits?
No
G2.1. If yes, what are those limits?
N/A
G3. What is the allowable fee per pay period employers may charge for processing income withholding payments?
One time set-up of $25; $3 for each subsequent deduction.
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G4. After receiving an income withholding order or notice, what is the date by which the employer is required to implement income withholding?
No later than the 1st pay period that occurs after 14 days following the date the Notice was mailed.
G5. What is the date by which an employer must remit amounts withheld from an employee's pay?
Within 2 working days of each payment date.
G6. What are your state's procedures for sanctioning employers for not implementing income withholding?
Georgia law provides that if the employer willfully fails to deduct, they are liable for the amount that they should have deducted plus any court costs, interest, and attorney fees.
G7. What is the penalty to an employer for failure to remit payments withheld?
No penalty imposed by the IV-D agency. The court may impose costs, interest and reasonable attorney's fees. For additional information, refer to Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. 19-6-33.
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G8. Does your state allow direct income withholding of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits across state lines?
Yes
G8.1. Explain your process for receiving direct withholding orders across state lines.
If the NCP lives in GA, income withholding of UI benefits can be requested through an interstate action under UIFSA by submitting a full petition packet for a two-state case to the Georgia Central Registry. Also, requests can be sent direct to GA Dept of Labor for a fee. Bypassing a two-state case will require a $52 processing fee to be paid to: Georgia Department of Labor, 148 Andrew Young International Blvd N.E., Suite 900, Atlanta GA 30303-1757.
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G8.2. What documents are required to intercept UI benefits?
Income withholding of UI benefits can be requested through an interstate action under UIFSA by submitting a full petition packet for a two-state case to the Georgia Central Registry. See G8.1 for instructions to bypass a two-state case.
G9. Does your state allow direct income withholding of workers' compensation (WC) benefits across state lines?
Yes
G9.1. Optional comments regarding direct withholding of WC benefits across state lines.
Income Withholding for "periodic payments." Lump sum payments are subject to the lien and levy process.
G10. How does an obligor contest income withholding in your state?
Obligor may request an administrative or judicial hearing at any time. Such requests do not halt enforcement actions.
G11. When the obligor has more than one claim for child support against his or her income, what is your state's priority scheme for income-withholding orders? For example, the employer should allocate the available amount for withholding equally among all orders or prorate available amount across orders.
Employers should deduct payments for all orders prorating total deduction amounts across all orders up to the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act limits.
G11.1. If an employer in your state receives more than one income withholding order for child support from other states, can the employer request your assistance?
Yes
G11.2. If assistance is not available, explain how employers should proceed. Provide a citation for the state law that governs how they should proceed.
The state office Legal Services Officer or state office Policy Specialists can provide assistance. Advice provided by Policy Specialists should not be considered legal advice, only guidance. O.C.G.A 19-6-32.
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G12. Does your state require any mandatory deductions, such as union dues or medical insurance premiums, to arrive at net pay from gross pay when calculating disposable income for child support purposes?
No.
G13. When does your state require the employer to send notice of an employee's termination?
Upon separation from employment.
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G14. How long should an employer retain the income withholding orders (IWO) after terminating an employee, in anticipation of reinstating the withholding should the employee be rehired?
There is no time limit under Georgia law.
G15. Does your state charge any fees to the obligor that the employer must withhold and remit to the state?
Yes, there is a charge of 5% per total deduction or $1.50, whichever is less per pay period.
G16. Does your state offer an alternate web-based payment mechanism in addition to paper and EFT/EDI?
Yes. We offer credit card payments via the portal plus our Family Support Registry through SMI has e-commerce on their website.
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G17. Can another state send a direct income withholding order to any of the following in your state: employer, financial institution (explain which institutions), bureau of workers' compensation, or other income payer?
Employers and Worker's Compensation Board only. Please provide the active GA OCSS Case Number when sending direct income withholding to Central Registry.
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G18. If there is insufficient income for an employer to withhold for both the total amount of child support and medical support, describe your state's prioritization between child support and medical support.
Current child support is paid first, then medical support up to the federal CCPA limits.
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G19. If your state has more than one state or jurisdiction requesting to collect support for the same obligor/obligee combination under the same court order for the same children, (for example where current support goes to the CP and other states have claims for past periods based on payment of TANF), what is your state's procedure for distributing payments among these arrears claims?
According to our distribution matrix, current support is paid first. Once the current support ordered amount is satisfied for the month, then the remaining balance of the payment or subsequent payments received during the same month are prorated and applied to the arrears owed on the case. Proration is based on the arrears support ordered amount and then the arrears balances.
G20. If your practice for distribution of payments between cases is directed by state law or rule, what is the citation?
Distribution follows federal law and regulations, and is also addressed in Ga. Comp. Rules & Regulations. r. 290-7-1-.15(a).
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G21. Does your state's law require a signature on the income withholding order?
No

H. Paternity

H1. When your state enters an order establishing paternity, do you also address issues of custody and visitation?
No
H1.1. If yes, please explain.
N/A
H2. What is the percentage of probability for genetic testing that creates a rebuttable or conclusive presumption of paternity?
97% or higher.
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H3. Optional comments regarding legislation that makes paternity acknowledgments conclusive.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 19-7-46.1 when both the mother and father have signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and the acknowledgment is recorded in the putative father registry established by subsection (d) of Code Section 19-11-9, the acknowledgment shall constitute a legal determination of paternity, subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment prior to the date of the support order, any other order adjudicating paternity, or 60 days from the signing of the agreement, whichever is earlier. Recording such information in the putative father registry shall constitute a legal determination of paternity for purposes of establishing a future order for support, visitation privileges, and other matters under Code Section 19-7-51. After the 60 day rescission period specified in subsection (b) of this Code section, the signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the person challenging the acknowledgment. The legal responsibilities of any signatory, including child support obligations, arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the challenge, except for good cause shown.
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H4. What is the effective date of the state law that makes paternity acknowledgments conclusive?
01/01/1997
H4.1. Were acknowledgments prior to that effective date rebuttable?
No
H4.2. Optional comments regarding paternity acknowledgments prior to that date.
N/A
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H5. Does marriage constitute a rebuttable presumption of paternity?
Yes
H5.1. If yes, how is the presumption rebutted?
By clear and convincing contrary evidence provided by the husband.
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H6. If the father's name is on the birth certificate and paternity has not been established by any other means, does this mean conclusive determination of paternity?
No
H6.1. If no, briefly explain.
As of July 1, 1997, the father's name cannot be entered on the birth certificate unless both mother and father sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or if the biological parents were married when the child was born. When the signed acknowledgement is registered in the Putative Father Registry it constitutes a legal determination of paternity, with a right to rescind. It should be noted that this may be challenged in a subsequent legal proceeding on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. Also, the father's name can be entered on the child's birth certificate if the biological parents later marry each other.
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H7. What is the effective date of the state law that makes a father's name on the birth certificate a conclusive determination of paternity?
N/A
H8. Does your state have any other paternity-related presumptions?
Yes
H8.1. If yes, briefly explain.
A presumption exists if the putative father signed the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and his name is on the birth certificate. When the mother is married, the husband is presumed to be the father.
H9. Does your state have a putative fathers' registry?
Yes
H9.1. If yes, what is the name of that entity?
The Georgia Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records.
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H10. Are there any fees for requesting searches, paternity documents and data from your state's bureau of vital statistics?
Yes
H10.1. If yes, please describe any circumstances under which these fees may be waived.
Vital Records charges $25.00 for birth certificates and each additional copy of the same document is $5. A copy of a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity is $10.00. The only waiver is for GA DCSS attorneys when the document is needed for a court hearing.
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H11. Is common-law marriage recognized in your state?
No
H11.1. If yes, briefly describe the standard that defines common-law marriage.
Common Law marriage has not been recognized since January 1997.
H11.2. When did your current common-law standard go into effect?
01/01/1997
H11.3. If there was a common-law standard in effect prior to your current standard, what was that standard and when did it go into effect?
1. Parties were able to contract marriage; 2. There was an actual contract; 3. Must have been consummated according to law. Codified in 1983
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H12. When the custodial party and/or other witnesses are not able to appear in person for paternity hearings, what methods of testimony are acceptable; for example, written, videotape, and teleconferencing?
Paternity testimony or UIFSA General Testimony or written, sworn, and notarized testimony.
H13. Give the statutory citation for your state's long-arm statute and list any special provisions.
O.C.G.A. 19-7-41 and 19-11-110
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