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Fraud in Child Support

The issue before the court was "whether a parent may sue the other parent for fraud and deceit based on alleged misrepresentations made during an action to establish child support."

Child support was established and ordered based on the father's gross income. The mother, however, claimed that she later discovered that the father had fraudulently represented his income.

She sued him for damages for fraud and deceit. She alleged that he had fraudulent stated his income "so that his child support obligation would be set at an amount much lower than he was legally obligated to pay."

In addition to seeking the "difference between the child support the father paid and the amount he should have paid," the mother sought "exemplary damages" for his "wilful and wanton acts and deceit and for his conscious indifference to the consequences of his actions."

The appellate court found that the mother's action was "not the pursuit of a modification of child support; she did not seek a new support award or an award of support arrearages on behalf of the child. Instead, she has brought a claim for damages which she herself has sustained due to the father's fraud and deceit, and there is no basis in law or equity to preclude such an action."

Butler v. Turner, 555 S.E.2d 427 (2201) (from the Superior Court of Cherokee County)

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To get a Georgia divorce on one of the "fault" grounds, the spouse must prove adultery, desertion for at least a year, mental or physical cruelty, marriage between persons who are related by blood, mental incapacity, impotency, force or fraud in getting married, wife's pregnancy unknown to the husband at the time of the marriage, conviction and imprisonment, habitual intoxication or drug addiction, or mental illness.
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