2020 Georgia Code
Title 36 - Local Government
Chapter 12 - Supervision and Support of Paupers
§ 36-12-3. Duty of Relatives to Support Paupers Generally; Right of County to Recover From Relatives for Provisions Furnished

Universal Citation: GA Code § 36-12-3 (2020)

The father, mother, or child of any pauper contemplated by Code Section 36-12-2, if sufficiently able, shall support the pauper. Any county having provided for such pauper upon the failure of such relatives to do so may bring an action against such relatives of full age and recover for the provisions so furnished. The certificate of the judge of the probate court that the person was poor and was unable to sustain himself and that he was maintained at the expense of the county shall be presumptive evidence of such maintenance and the costs thereof.

(Orig. Code 1863, §§ 716, 717; Code 1868, §§ 786, 787; Code 1873, §§ 764, 765; Code 1882, §§ 764, 765; Civil Code 1895, §§ 439, 440; Civil Code 1910, §§ 554, 555; Code 1933, §§ 23-2302, 23-2303.)

Cross references.

- Duty of parents to support child, § 19-7-2.

Child Support Recovery Act, § 19-11-1 et seq.

Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, § 19-11-40 et seq.


Considering former Code 1933, §§ 23-2302 and 23-2303 (see now O.C.G.A. § 36-12-3) in connection with cognate sections, the words "any pauper contemplated by former Code 1933, § 23-2301 (see now O.C.G.A. § 36-12-2)," refer to one who is completely destitute. Citizens & S. Nat'l Bank v. Cook, 182 Ga. 240, 185 S.E. 318 (1936).

When mother must support children.

- On the death of a father the duty of supporting the children devolves upon the mother, when the mother has the ability, and the infant child is without means, and is unable to earn a maintenance. Thompson v. Georgia Ry. & Power Co., 163 Ga. 598, 136 S.E. 895 (1927).

Child must be destitute.

- Child has no right to recover unless the child is completely destitute. Crane v. Crane, 225 Ga. 605, 170 S.E.2d 392 (1969).

Mother's right of support from child.

- Destitute mother being a pauper within the meaning of this section and having a son of sufficient ability to support her, has a right to such support from the son, and when the destitute mother has the right to support from her son, a court of equity may provide a remedy to enforce the right. Citizens & S. Nat'l Bank v. Cook, 182 Ga. 240, 185 S.E. 318 (1936).

Wrongful birth damages.

- In action for damages under federal wrongful birth claim, extraordinary expenses of the child's care are recoverable beyond the child's eighteenth birthday if the child will be completely destitute as Georgia law imposes the duty to support on parents of a destitute adult. Campbell v. United States, 795 F. Supp. 1118 (N.D. Ga. 1990), aff'd, 962 F.2d 1579 (11th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 909, 113 S. Ct. 1254, 122 L. Ed. 2d 653 (1993).

Confederate soldiers, referred to in the expression "indigent pensioners," as used in Ga. L. 1909, p. 173, § 2, cannot be classed as paupers. Clark v. Walton, 137 Ga. 277, 73 S.E. 392 (1911).

Jurisdiction of petition for wife's support.

- If a petition by a wife for support from her husband is considered as an action for alimony against the defendant husband, the petition must be brought in the county of his residence, and a court would be without jurisdiction of the cause in another county. Davenport v. Davenport, 215 Ga. 496, 111 S.E.2d 57 (1959).

Cited in Owens v. Parham, 350 F. Supp. 598 (N.D. Ga. 1972); Still v. Still, 199 Ga. App. 723, 405 S.E.2d 762 (1991).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 79 Am. Jur. 2d, Welfare Laws, §§ 80 et seq., 89 et seq.


- 41 C.J.S., Husband and Wife, §§ 16, 66 et seq. 67A C.J.S., Parent and Child, §§ 44, 45.


- Liability of parent for dental services to minor child, 7 A.L.R. 1070.

Criminal liability of father for failure to support child who is living apart from him without his consent, 23 A.L.R. 864.

Survival of statutory liability for support of relative, 96 A.L.R. 537.

Nature of care contemplated by statute imposing general duty to care for indigent relatives, 92 A.L.R.2d 348.

Constitutionality of statutory provision requiring reimbursement of public by child for financial assistance to aged parents, 75 A.L.R.3d 1159.

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