georgia.gov
Friday, July 29, 2016
  Customer Online Services -
Our Services Make Payment Apply Now Payments Provide Info My Case
  Our Services    

Our Services

   Services    Provided

Register

Office Finder

FAQ

Site Map

Sign In

DCSS Home Page

Learn about Services for
Custodial Parent
Non-Custodial Parent
Custodial Applicant Information and Responsibilities
  

Services Provided to Applicants

DCSS will provide services to you ONLY in matters relating to:
  • Location of the Non-Custodial Parent (NCP), for child support purposes ONLY;
  • Establishment of paternity, for child support purposes ONLY;
  • Establishment of a child support order, including medical insurance when available at reasonable cost;
  • Modification of a child support order. The review process will not begin until the DCSS receives a written request and payment of a non-refundable $100 application fee for each case being reviewed. This fee will not be waived unless you are receiving TANF benefits, or your total gross income is $1,000 or less per month at the time of your request. You may be required to show a significant change in circumstances as required by Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. 19-11-12 before a modification will occur;
  • Enforcement of a child support order, including medical support, using all applicable means;
  • Collection and distribution of amounts collected;
  • Collection of spousal support, only when included in an order for child support and the child has not been emancipated;
  • Calculate and collect interest on overdue child support pursuant to a support order originated in Georgia. Interest on orders issued outside the state of Georgia may or may not be enforced by DCSS. Refer to the Application and Assignment for Child Support Services for details.

DCSS will not do the following: (If needed, you must pursue them through a private attorney)
  • File a divorce action;
  • Assistance in obtaining legal custody or guardianship in order to be eligible for DCSS services;
  • Take legal action to pursue visitation or custody;
  • Enforce court-ordered payment of unpaid bills, attorneys fees, property settlement, out-of-pocket medical bills, or any other items not related to child support payments;
  • Establish or enforce 'spousal support only' orders;
  • Legitimate the minor child(ren);
  • Seek retroactive child support (prior to a child support order).

DCSS has sole discretion in determining which legal remedy shall be used to provide program services. You understand that you as the custodian may not make recommendations for individual services to be used by DCSS. DCSS will attempt to provide all services considered appropriate for your case and situation.

If your public assistance (TANF) or Family Medicaid case in Georgia closes, DCSS is required by state and federal laws to continue to provide you with child support services unless you notify us, in writing, to close your case.

Child Support Collections

Information regarding child support collections:
  • Child support money collected by DCSS is disbursed according to strict guidelines required by federal law;
  • In general, if you receive TANF, your family can receive some child support if you receive the maximum TANF grant amount for your family size. These payments are called 'GAP Payments'. The GAP payment amount depends on the amount of child support collected, your TANF grant and any other income your family receives. The GAP amount is determined by DFCS and the information is sent to DCSS;
  • Child support collections on a TANF case apply first towards the GAP payment. The exception to this is tax refunds. Once the GAP payment has been met, remaining child support collections apply to current or prior public assistance received by your family;
  • If your family stops receiving TANF, you are entitled to child support collected equal to the NCP's obligation;
  • All child support is paid to one centralized location called the Family Support Registry (FSR).

DCSS sends support payments to the CP/CU after they are received. Payments are made to the family by applying them to the DCSS issued Debit Card or by direct deposit into the CP/CU's checking account.

The CP/CU can generally expect to receive them within one to three days after DCSS receives payments. If payments are made through Income Deduction (from the NCP's paycheck), employers often submit the total withheld on a MONTHLY basis (i.e., at the end of each accounting month, usually within the first week of the following month).

Federal regulations require that DCSS collect overdue support by intercepting the NCP's Federal and State tax refunds or lottery winnings. There is no guarantee that tax refunds will be collected on your behalf since state and federal programs have priority over the claim of the CP/CU (i.e., any past TANF debt owed to a State must be satisfied first). If a tax refund intercept occurs, DCSS has the authority to hold, with no interest or penalty, a refund that involves a joint tax return, for a period of six (6) months before disbursement. Fees may also be assessed against the total offset amount.

DCSS may provide your Social Security number and/or those of your children as necessary to an employer, insurance company, or other agency if DCSS deems it necessary in order to provide child support services or to secure health insurance.

Requirement to Notify DCSS of Changes to My Information

You must immediately notify DCSS, in writing, if any of the following changes in circumstances occur:
  • When your name, residence, telephone number, employment or health insurance changes;
  • When a child changes PHYSICAL custody or moves from the home (for longer than one month);
  • When a custodial parent/custodian (CP/CU), loses legal custody or the child moves from the home (for longer than one month and this is not associated with routine visitation);
  • If a child dies, marries, is adopted, or joins the armed forces;
  • If you retain a private attorney or collection agency in regard to support issues (this would necessitate coordination of case action);
  • If you receive any direct payments from the NCP;
  • If you file for or are served with divorce papers;
  • If any legal action regarding child support is taken by either party, of which you are aware;
  • If the other parent changes residence, telephone number, employment, or health insurance;
  • If you want to change your method of payment: to or from Direct Deposit or an DCSS debit card;
  • If you apply for TANF or Family Medicaid services;
  • If you decide that you no longer want child support services.

Requirement to Discontinue Accepting Direct Payments

Once an order for support is obtained, ALL child support payments MUST be paid and processed through the Division of Child Support Services, Family Support Registry. You should NOT accept any direct payments from the NCP. Accepting direct payments is a hindrance to the enforcement and financial tracking of your case, which is deemed an act of 'Non-cooperation' on your part and will result in the closing of your case.

Establishing Paternity for the Children Listed

Please see http://dcss.dhs.georgia.gov/child-access-visitation for additional information about establishing paternity.
Information Regarding Case Processing
  

Case Closure Information

Your case may be closed for enforcement services at any time if you are not receiving TANF and no State debt exists. If you are receiving Family Medicaid, DCSS must continue to enforce or obtain a medical insurance order. If an Income Deduction Order is in place and deductions are being withdrawn from the NCP's paycheck by the employer, the case can be closed for enforcement services, but must remain active in our system to allow distribution of payments made through the Family Support Registry.

If you are a registered user, you can request case closure on this website by clicking on the Site Map in the left column. When the Site Map page displays, click on the Close My Case link under the heading My Case. From the Close My Case link, you can follow the directions to request closure of your case. If you are not a registered user, you will first need to register by clicking the Register link in the left column.

How long does it take?

The length of time to process each case is different based on whether there is already an Order for Support, whether we know where the parents are located, whether the NCP is in another state, is working, etc. All cases must go through a similar process of (1) Verification or Location of NCP; (2) Petition to the court if there is no prior support order or notification to the NCP that DCSS is enforcing the prior support order; (3) Appointments to settle issues such as Paternity, back-support or Welfare owed back to the State; (4) Referral of the case to an Enforcement Agent who will monitor the case and/or take legal action to keep payments current.

Legal Jurisdiction

If there is already an order for support (i.e. Divorce Decree), the case may be handled by DCSS office in the same county as that order. Due to various factors, sometimes the county that issued the order cannot handle a case. If that is true, DCSS will take such other steps as are reasonably appropriate to enforce the existing order. If there is no order in existence at the time of the application, the case may be transferred to the county in which the non-custodial parent resides to obtain a child support order. If the case needs to be transferred to another county, DCSS will refer the case to the appropriate agency in that county.

Paternity Testing

You may be required to submit to genetic testing for paternity determination of the children in this case, and to cooperate, should it be required. If paternity has not been established by marriage or court documents, genetic testing may be used to determine paternity. If the NCP is the father of the child, he will be required to sign an order for support. If not, he will be released from any other responsibility, and you will be asked for information about another possible father.

How Child Support Amounts are Decided

A child support order is established based on the Georgia Child Support Guidelines, which consider the income of both parents and the number of children. Other factors specified in O.C.G.A. 19-6-15 may be considered when determining the amount of child support within and outside the range. These include, but are not limited to, the availability and reasonable cost of medical insurance coverage and any additional minor children that the NCP is legally responsible to support.Child Support Guidelines Calculator.

Notice of Paying Case

You will be notified when the process is complete, and the NCP is legally responsible for supporting the child(ren) of the case. Whenever possible, payments are made through Income Deduction (through the NCP's employer) and may take 6-8 weeks to get started. However, payments are usually dependable once started, for as long as the NCP works for that company. DCSS disburses payments within 1 business day of receiving receipt, whenever possible.

Arrears Repayment

A monthly repay amount may be established to collect past due support owed based on an existing child support order. The NCP's tax returns, lottery winnings, unemployment, workers compensation, and other lump sum payments may be intercepted and applied to this debt.

Review and Modification of a Court Order

You have the right to request a review of your child support order for a possible modification. Generally under agency procedure, a support order must be at least 36 months old before a review will be conducted unless a substantial change in circumstances can be proven by the requesting party. The review may result in a recommendation for an increase or a decrease in the current support amount and/or a provision for medical insurance coverage. If you are the person requesting a review, you must complete and submit an Application for Modification Services. You will have to pay a $100 non-refundable administrative processing fee for each case being reviewed when the review is complete and before we release our agency decision to you. This fee will not be waived unless you are receiving TANF benefits, or your total gross income is $1,000 or less per month at the time of your written request.

Payment of the fee does not guarantee that a modification will result in a change in favor of the party paying for this service. Fee payment merely insures that DCSS will determine if a modification action is appropriate at the time of application. Consideration will be given to the appropriateness of adding medical insurance coverage and/or adjusting the support order upwards, downwards or whether it should remain the same. Payment of the DCSS administrative fee reimburses the state for a portion of its expenses and does not create any contract, expressed or implied, for services of the DCSS attorney. All applicants are reminded that DCSS Attorneys represent the State of Georgia only and not any applicant for child support services. It is highly recommended that you go to the DCSS website for further information on the Review and Modification process and requirements: http://ocss.dhr.georgia.gov

Interstate Case Processing

If the NCP lives in another state, your case may meet the requirements for referral through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). If so, you may have to complete an UIFSA packet labeled 'General Testimony' in addition to the Custodial Parent Application for Child Support Services. Based on past experience with other states, the time it takes to obtain an order through the UIFSA process may take between (6) and (12) months. Please note that in the UIFSA process, enforcement taken on your case is at the discretion of the other State.

Non IV-D Collection and Distribution Services

If the custodial parent is not receiving TANF or Medicaid and does not want DCSS to provide full services, CSS cannot compel the CP/CU to cooperate. However, if you are ordered to pay child support and want DCSS to collect and distribute payments, we will set up a Non IV-D case. At that time, we will only collect and distribute child support payments made by income deduction through your employer. Your employer will be asked to mail your payments through the Child Support Services, Family Support Registry.

If the CP/CU requests full services at a later date, our office will provide full services.
Non-Custodial Applicant Information and Responsibilities
  

Services Provided to Applicants

DCSS will provide services to you ONLY in matters relating to:
  • Establishment of paternity, for child support purposes ONLY;
  • Establishment of a child support order, including medical insurance when available at reasonable cost;
  • Modification of a child support order. The review process will not begin until the DCSS receives a written request and payment of a non-refundable $100 application fee for each case being reviewed. This fee will not be waived unless you are receiving TANF or Family Medicaid benefits, or your total gross income is $1,000 or less per month at the time of your request. You may be required to show a significant change in circumstances as required by Georgia Law, O.C.G.A. 19-11-12 before a modification will occur.
  • Enforcement of a child support order, including medical support;
  • Collection and distribution of amounts collected;
  • Collection of spousal support, only when included in an order for child support and the child has not emancipated and resides with the custodial parent/custodian (CP/CU).

DCSS will not do the following. If needed, you must hire a private attorney.
  • A divorce action;
  • Locate the Custodial Parent (CP), unless in connection with the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act;
  • Take legal action to pursue guardianship, visitation or legal custody;
  • Enforce court-ordered payment of unpaid bills, attorney's fees, property settlement, out-of-pocket medical bills, or any other items not related to child support payments;
  • Establish or enforce 'spousal support only' orders;
  • Legitimate the minor child(ren);
  • Seek retroactive child support (prior to a child support order).
DCSS has sole discretion in determining which legal remedy shall be used to provide program services. Please understand that you as the non-custodial parent, may not 'pick and choose' individual services. DCSS will try to provide all services considered appropriate for your case and situation.

Child Support Collections

Information regarding child support collections:
  • Child support money collected by DCSS is disbursed according to federal guidelines;
  • In general, if the CP/CU receives TANF, the child(ren) can receive some child support if the CP/CU receives the maximum TANF grant amount for their family size. These payments are called 'GAP Payments'. The GAP amount is determined by DFCS and the information is sent to DCSS. Child support collections on a TANF case apply first towards the GAP payment. The exception to this is tax refunds. Once the GAP payment has been met, remaining child support collections apply to current or prior public assistance received;
  • If the CP/CU's family stops receiving TANF, they are entitled to child support collected equal to YOUR obligation amount;
  • All child support is paid to one centralized location called the GA Family Support Registry. Payments are made to the family by applying them to an DCSS issued Debit Card or by direct deposit into the CP/CU's checking account.
DCSS sends support payments to the CP/CU after they are received. The CP/CU can generally expect to receive them within seven days after DCSS receives payments. If payments are made through Income Deduction (from your paycheck), the employer may submit the total amount withheld MONTHLY (i.e., at the end of each accounting month, usually within the first week of the following month). Your employer may deduct a one-time fee of $25.00 to set up a deduction and a $3 fee for each deduction thereafter.

Federal regulations require that DCSS collect overdue support by intercepting your Federal and State tax refunds or lottery winnings. If a tax refund intercept occurs, DCSS has the authority to hold, with no interest penalty, a refund that involves a joint tax return, for a period of six (6) months before disbursement. Fees may also be assessed against the total offset amount.

Requirement to Notify DCSS of Changes to my Information

You must immediately notify DCSS, in writing, of any changes to the following:
  • When your name, residence, telephone number(s), employment or health insurance changes;
  • When a child changes PHYSICAL custody or moves from the home (for longer than one month);
  • When a custodial parent/custodian (CP/CU), loses legal custody or the child moves from the home (for longer than one month, and this is not associated with routine visitation);
  • If a child dies, marries, is adopted, or joins the armed forces;
  • If you retain a private attorney in regard to support issues (this would necessitate coordination of case action);
  • If you file for or are served with divorce papers;
  • If any legal action regarding child support is taken by either party, of which you are aware;
  • If the other parent changes residence, telephone number(s), employment, or health insurance.

Requirement to Discontinue Making Direct Payments to the Custodian

Once an order for support is obtained, ALL child support payments MUST be paid and processed through the Division of Child Support Services, Family Support Registry. You should NOT make any direct payments to the CP/CU. Making direct payments is a hindrance to the enforcement and financial tracking of your case, which is deemed an act of 'Non-cooperation' on your part and may result in legal action against you.
Information Regarding Case Processing
  

Establishing Paternity for the Children Listed

You acknowledge that you are or may be the parent of all children listed in this Application. You understand that under the Laws of the State of Georgia, and at some time in the future, you may be liable to furnish support for every child named herein, until said child(ren) has/have emancipated. You may be required to submit to genetic testing for paternity determination, and to cooperate, should it be required to establish paternity for the children of this case.

If paternity has not been established by marriage or court documents, genetic testing may be used. If you are found to be the biological father of the child, you will be required to sign an order for support. If you are not the biological father of the child, you will be released from any further responsibility.

Non IV-D Collection and Distribution Services

If the CP/CU is not receiving TANF or Family Medicaid and does not want DCSS to provide full services, DCSS cannot compel the CP/CU to cooperate. However, if you are ordered to pay child support and want DCSS to collect and distribute payments, we will set up a Non IV-D case. At that time, we will only collect and distribute child support payments made by income deduction through your employer. Your employer will be asked to mail your payments through the Division of Child Support Services, Family Support Registry.

If the CP/CU requests full services at a later date, our office will provide full services.

Interest on Child Support Arrearages

The Department is authorized to calculate and collect interest on overdue child support orders issued in Georgia pursuant to O.C.G.A. 7-4-12.1. Interest under this Code section will only be collected for the person to whom the support is due.

Interest on out of state orders may be enforced by DCSS when the applicant or referring child support agency calculates the interest and/or there is an order adjudicating the interest in terms of a specific dollar amount.

How Long does it Take?

The length of time to process each case is different based on whether there is already an order for support, whether we know where the CP/CU is located, whether the CP/CU is in another state, etc. All cases must go through a similar process of (1) Petition to the court if there is no prior support order or notification to the CP/CU that DCSS is enforcing the prior support order; (2) Appointments to settle issues such as Paternity, back-support or Welfare reimbursement owed to the State; (3) Referral of the case to an Enforcement Agent who will monitor the case and/or take legal action to keep payments current.

Legal Jurisdiction

If there is already an order for support (i.e. Divorce Decree), the case may be handled by an DCSS office in the same county as that order. Due to various factors, sometimes the county that issued the order cannot handle a case. If that is true, DCSS will take such other steps as are reasonably appropriate to enforce the existing order.

Paternity Testing

If paternity has not been established by marriage or court documents, genetic testing may be used to determine paternity. If you are found to be the biological father of the child, an order for support will be established. If you are not the biological father of the child, you will be released from any further responsibility.

How Child Support Amounts are Decided

A child support order is established based on the Georgia Child Support Guidelines, which consider the income of both parents and the number of children. Other factors specified in O.C.G.A. 19-6-15 may be considered when determining the amount of child support within and outside the range. These include, but are not limited to, the availability and reasonable cost of medical insurance coverage and any additional minor children that you are legally responsible to support.Child Support Guidelines Calculator.

Notice of Paying Case

You will be notified when to begin supporting your children if paternity is established. Payments made through Income Deduction (through your employer) may take 6-8 weeks to get started. Therefore, you may need to make payments on your own until your employer begins sending payments to DCSS. DCSS generally disburses payments to the CP/CU within 1 business day of receiving them, whenever possible. This may be done through an DCSS debit card, direct deposit into the CP/CU's checking account or by check.

Arrears Repayment

A monthly repay amount may be established to collect arrears owed either to the CP/CU on an existing child support order or to the state as reimbursement for TANF (Welfare) paid on behalf of your child(ren). Your tax refunds may be intercepted, and also applied to this debt. Fees may also be assessed against the total offset amount.

Review and Modification of a Court Order

You have the right to request a review of your child support order for a possible modification. Generally under agency procedure, a support order must be at least 36 months old before a review will be conducted unless a substantial change in circumstances can be proven by the requesting party. The review may result in a recommendation for an increase or a decrease in the current support amount and/or a provision for medical insurance coverage. If you are the person requesting a review, you must complete and submit an Application for Modification Services. You will have to pay a $100 non-refundable administrative processing fee for each case being reviewed when the review is complete and before we release our agency decision to you. This fee will not be waived unless you are receiving TANF benefits, or your total gross income is $1,000 or less per month at the time of your written request.

Payment of the fee does not guarantee that a modification will result in a change in favor of the party paying for this service. Fee payment merely insures that DCSS will determine if a modification action is appropriate at the time of application. Consideration will be given to the appropriateness of adding medical insurance coverage and/or adjusting the support order upwards, downwards or whether it should remain the same. Payment of the DCSS administrative fee reimburses the state for a portion of its expenses and does not create any contract, expressed or implied, for services of the DCSS attorney. All applicants are reminded that DCSS Attorneys represent the State of Georgia only and not any applicant for child support services. It is highly recommended that you go to the DCSS website for further information on the Review and Modification process and requirements: http://ocss.dhr.georgia.gov

Interstate Case Processing

If the CP/CU lives in another state, your case may meet the requirements for referral through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). If so, you may have to complete an UIFSA packet in addition to the Application for Child Support Services. Based on past experience with other states, the time it takes to establish paternity through the UIFSA process may take between (6) and (12) months. Establishment, enforcement or Review and Modification of your child support order may also be subject to the laws of the other state.
 
  Programs
 
  • Fatherhood

     
  • Access & Visitation

     
      Helpful Links
     
  • Federal Child Support

     
  • Other State Sites