In January of 2007, Georgia child support law changed to incorporate the income and expenses of both parents when calculating monthly support obligation amounts. The new formula was meant to make support payments fair to both parties while ensuring that children of the relationship were cared for financially. While the change has been mostly beneficial, it has created issues in the form of child support fraud. It is possible for either the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent to commit fraud, making it difficult to know if you are a victim of child support fraud unless you know what to look for. Being aware of common types of child support related fraud that negatively affect your child can help you protect yourself and your children.
Unreported Income Changes
Underreported income is one of the most commonly reported types of child support fraud in Georgia and surrounding states. This occurs when either parent fails to report all of their income sources or deliberately lies about the amount of income they receive in order to claim that they earn less money than they actually make. A noncustodial parent may do this to reduce their child support obligation or a custodial parent may conceal income in the hope of receiving a larger amount of child support from the other parent. During the application process, both parents are signing legal documents, stating that the information they are providing is accurate to the best of their knowledge and they are advised to notify the court immediately if their income amount increases or decreases.
Leaving the State or Country
Another less-discussed form of fraud is willfully leaving the state where a child support case is active solely to avoid making court-ordered payments. Changes on a federal level have made it easier for state child support agencies to pursue parents who are behind in payment, but in some extreme cases, parents may decide to leave the country. At that point, a parent ordered to pay child support may find themselves prosecuted for child support fraud and for committing a federal crime. Depending on the amount owed, a noncustodial parent could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony after their passport is revoked and they are returned to the United States.
Georgia child support enforcement and family court handle thousands of cases each year making it difficult for them to catch every incident of fraud without assistance. If you believe your former partner or someone that you know is committing child support fraud, it is important to report the abuse as soon as possible. It is possible to make a report anonymously, but if you have evidence to submit or are directly involved in the case, it is often a good idea to contact your attorney or your local child support enforcement office in person.
Vayman & Teitelbaum Attorneys at Law
Child support fraud not only creates difficulty for the parent who is victimized, it also deprives the children involved of the financial support to which they are entitled. The aggressive child support attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to fight on your behalf to see that your children receive what they are entitled to while making sure you are not taken advantage of. With four offices located throughout the Atlanta metro area, we are ready to give you the legal assistance that you deserve.