A child abandoned by its father or mother shall be considered to be in a dependent condition when the father or mother does not furnish sufficient food, clothing, or shelter for the needs of the child.  (O.C.G.A. § 19-10-1).  If a parent fails to pay child support for a dependent child for more than thirty (30) days, the parent is guilty of misdemeanor abandonment.  However, if the parent of the child leaves the State and fails to pay child support for more than thirty (30) days, the parent is guilty of felony abandonment.

The best resource for enforcing child support payments is the Child Support Enforcement Unit.  While a warrant for abandonment may be issued against a non-custodial parent in Magistrate Court, the District Attorney’s Office requires the custodial parent to utilize the services of Child Support Enforcement prior to a criminal prosecution.  You may contact Child Support Enforcement at 770-784-2499.  You may also access their website at www.ocse.dhr.georgia.gov

If the custodial parent has attempted to recover child support by utilizing the services of Child Support Enforcement and has been unsuccessful, the District Attorney’s Office will criminally prosecute the non-custodial parent for abandonment.  The custodial parent will have to fill out the appropriate abandonment forms which are located on this website, to provide sufficient information for prosecution of the criminal case.   

Once the District Attorney’s Office has received all of the necessary information from you, an accusation will be filed.  In most cases, the charge of abandonment is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to twelve months in jail.  Our standard recommendation for a first offender is twelve months confinement, with the confinement to be suspended upon the defendant signing up with Child Support Enforcement and paying as directed. Practically speaking, that means that so long as the defendant pays child support as ordered there will be no criminal sanction.  However, if the defendant pleads guilty and fails to pay child support as ordered, the custodial parent can contact the District Attorney’s Office and ask the prosecutor to file a motion to revoke the suspended sentence. This can result in the defendant being jailed until he or she pays a certain amount of back support.   

Abandonment.pdf Abandonment.pdf

Child Support: 770-784-2499

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 April 2009 )
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