How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 114077
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
10285032
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Law Educator, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am currently behind in child support in the state of

Customer Question

I am currently behind in child support in the state of Georgia by quite a bit. Last I heard it was around $3500, and that was back this spring. The monthly amount is around $300. I did not attend the status conference hearing in which this support order was entered, so I had no idea I needed to start paying. I only found out a few months ago when I noticed my license was suspended. I contacted an attorney and was advised that there was a contempt hearing date set for March 2015, which confused me since I was never served because I no longer live in the state of Georgia. My current attorney contacted the Department of Child Support Services attorney assigned to the case. He offered to acknowledge service if the court date was taken off the calendar since there was no service. The attorney agreed and stated that she would contact him to let us know when the hearing is rescheduled for. Well that was back on March 2nd, and we still haven't gotten notice as to the rescheduled date. What could this possibly mean? I'm asking you because my attorney finds it strange as well. I'm afraid they rescheduled the date but never told him about it, which no doubt will result in a FTA and/or contempt warrant for my arrest. There are a lot more details to this story but this is getting too long. I will provide more info after your initial response. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

It generally means that the attorney for the CSS has let the case slip through the cracks and has failed to reschedule it. Your attorney could have checked the court calendar to find out if it was rescheduled and likely has done so, but if there is nothing in the court calendar records, then it is something that he would need to contact CSS to get them to deal with the matter. If there was an FTA issued, your attorney could find that easily in the court docket master system and if he is not finding that, then it is likely not issued.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your prompt response. I wanted to add a couple of things. I didn't start paying when I found out about the arrears because I am currently unemployed. I've been diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar I. These illnesses are the reason I have been unemployed. My PTSD is related to something that happened with my child and the custodial parent. This is why this situation is such a delicate and complicated one. I'm being forced to face my worst memories which has left me mentally and emotionally unstable and incapable of functioning normally. Even typing this to you makes me feel like I'm gonna have a heart attack. Since dealing with this situation is so traumatic for me, I wanted to know what are some possible options available to me in family court? I don't want to be treated like a deadbeat or a criminal since this is largely out of my control. I am under the care of a psychiatrist, so I do have a doctor available to help me in court if that makes a difference. Thank you.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply.

I am afraid that ignoring the matter is what will cause you the biggest issue here, so your attorney needs to get on top of this and work out a deal, because you cannot let them ignore it any longer and because you cannot deal with this yourself.

The court can only set a payment amount and make you pay it, because if you do not pay they will treat you like a criminal and will put you in jail. The doctor's testimony will not get you out of payments, only your attorney working on some amount you can afford based on your unemployment will be able to do that and the court will consider your earnings and inability to work as part of the benefit calculations and will also try to make you qualify yourself for SS Disability benefits, because if you can qualify for SSDI, then you can get dependent benefits for your child to help cover the child support payments.