Where and When to File for Child Support
There are a few different ways that you can go about filing for child support in the state of Georgia, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your situation. First, if you are married, you have the right to file for divorce or legal separation and ask for a child support order through those proceedings. Alternatively, you can just file a request for a child support order from the court if you aren’t sure whether you want to file for divorce or separation yet. You typically file for divorce in the Superior Court of the county in which your spouse lives. You also could file for divorce in the county in which you lived during your marriage, if your spouse has moved from that county within the last six months. Finally, if you and your spouse agree, you can file in the court in the county in which you live.
Second, if you are not married to your child’s other parent, you cannot seek a child support order until paternity has been established. The easiest way to establish paternity is for the parents to sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Form, either at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth, at the vital records office in the county in which the child was born, or at the state vital records office in Atlanta. This document formally establishes paternity under Georgia law, which, in turn, allows the custodial parent to request a child support order through the court in the county in which the child lives.
Another way to establish paternity is to go through a court or administrative process, which can involve genetic testing to determine paternity, if requested by one of the parties. Whether you must go through your local Superior Court or an administrative process is completely dependent upon your county of residence in the state of Georgia. Assuming that genetic test results prove a man to be the father of the child, an administrative or court order will be issued that legally establishes him to be the father of the child. At this point, the custodial parent then can request a child support order by filing a request in the same court or with the same administrative agency that is handling the paternity case. In many cases, the court or agency will issue an order that both establishes paternity and a child support order.
If you considering filing for a child support suit, the Shaw Law Firm LLC, can help you. We will evaluate your situation and advise you about the available options in your case. Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.