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The legal aspects of raising someone else’s child

| Jan 9, 2020 | Firm News |

Not everyone is fortunate enough to grow up in a secure and happy home. Family members must sometimes step in to provide the basic building blocks of a child’s needs. Grandparents and relatives are often left to take up the slack for noncustodial parents.

Even loving grandparents find the added responsibility of raising someone else’s child challenging. Beyond the logistical adjustments, there are also financial and legal obligations to address. It may become necessary to modify an existing custody agreement. Children are minors by law. Their legal rights are in the hands of responsible caregivers and family members.

DCSS registration

The State of Georgia requires relatives and custodians of minors to register through the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). This is the first step to filing for child support payments. Caregivers may also pursue these other services on behalf of a child in their care:

  • Order establishment: Child support orders establish a child’s general well-being. It also pertains to medical and financial support orders.
  • Location services:  A search is available to locate a noncustodial parent. This is possible within the state, as well as in or out of the country.
  • Paternity establishment: Paternity establishment service uses genetic testing to confirm a legal relationship.
  • Redirection of child support payments: An existing court order for child support reflects the guardian’s last known address. If a child no longer lives with her or his legal guardian, payment redirection becomes necessary.
  • Review of support order:  A review request is important when there is a significant change. Filing a request for a review can occur at any time. Beyond that, a support order review is available every three years after it becomes effective.

Navigating the course of an unexpected child custody arrangement presents some unique challenges. The process is smoother once legal and financial details are up-to-date. Consulting with a legal professional is highly recommended for the best outcome.

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