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An overview of the child support process

In Georgia and any other state, a noncustodial parent is responsible for helping to raise his or her child. The husband of the baby's mother is presumed to be the child's legal father. If the child's parents aren't married, paternity needs to be established before a person can be ordered to pay child support. In some cases, a father will voluntarily acknowledge his paternity. A DNA test can also be conducted to determine the identity of a child's father.

An individual can move to establish paternity even if the other parent lives in another state or country. This can be done at any point until the child turns 23. If paternity is established, it does not necessarily mean that the child assumes his or her father's last name. However, a father can take legal action to have the child's last name changed to match his own.

If a parent is ordered to pay child support, there may be significant penalties for not doing so. Furthermore, parents who owe support are encouraged to keep in mind that the payments are for the benefit of their sons and daughters. In some cases, the person receiving the support may be a guardian or another person with whom the child lives who may not be a biological parent.

Child support is designed to help meet a child's needs without a parent having to enroll in public assistance programs. In some cases, they may make up a significant portion of a parent's income. Those who need help collecting child support to which they are owed may benefit by working with an family law attorney. He or she may be able to take steps to compel payment from a noncustodial parent. In some cases, this may be done by working with child support enforcement agencies.

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