Georgia Child Support Lawyers: Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Metro Atlanta Area
What is Child Support in Georgia?
Child support is an ongoing, regular payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of their child(ren) following the end of a marriage or as a part of a legal separation / separate maintenance court order. Child support is paid by the parent for the care and support of their child(ren). Usually the parent paying is what Georgia law defines as a non-custodial parent. The person receiving the child support payments is typically the custodial parent or guardian of the children.
How Long Must Child Support be Paid Under Georgia Law?
Child support must be paid until the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age, is deceased, marries or becomes emancipated. If a child is in college or some form of secondary school, child support payments may last until the child reaches the age of twenty (20) years.
How is Child Support in Georgia Calculated?
Child support payments are calculated based on a formula. Specifically, Georgia law (through the Georgia Child Support Commission) provides a Child Support Worksheet that is in the form of an Excel Spreadsheet for calculating child support. You can download the child support worksheet at this website: http://www.georgiacourts.org/csc/
Under Georgia Child Support law (See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15) both the Father’s and Mother’s incomes are used in the formula to calculate support. In a normal divorce, the parties either agree on – or ask the Court to decide the annual gross income of both parents. Both parent’s gross annual incomes is input in the Child Support Worksheet. It there is a dispute about the income or earning capacity of one or both parents, the Court may impute what it believes the income should be based upon the parties’ education and work experience. Even if a parent is uneducated and has very little work history, the court will usually impute at the least the minimum wage at forty (40) hours per week to that parent.
The lawyers, parties and court may then input these annual income values into the Child Support Worksheet to determine the amount of child support a parent should pay. In most instances, the parent that makes the most money and/or has the least time with their child(ren) will end up paying some amount of child support to the other parent. The child support calculations are based on a number of factors which include (but are not limited to):
- the gross income of both parents
- self-employment taxes
- health insurance premiums
- actual income, or the income earning potential of the parents
It is important to note that the Child Support Worksheet also provides for several deviations / adjustments to the calculations based on a case’s specific circumstances that can have the effect of increasing or lowering the amount of child support a parent may be required to pay. Georgia child support law outlines eleven (11) deviations that can be used to adjust the amount of child support to be paid. These deviations are used when calculating child support using the Child Support Worksheet. See O.C.G.A. 19-6-15(b)(8). These factors can include, but are not limited to:
- High income
- Low income
- Health related insurance
- Child and dependent care tax credit
- Travel expense related to visitation
- Permanency plan or foster care plan
- Extraordinary expenses
- Any pre-existing child support orders
- Whether either parent is supporting another child
- Extracurricular activities of the child(ren)
- Child care expenses for the child(ren)
- Parenting time
- Nonspecific deviations
It is important to note that each person that calculates the child support worksheet may come up with different final values based on their opinion regarding deviations. However, the court evaluates the final child support calculations will have the final say as to how much child support must be paid. The court may approve the child support numbers as presented by the parties or calculate its own child support amounts.
Rehabilitative alimony when awarded grants payments made by one spouse to another for a limited period of time. Rehabilitative alimony is designed to allow the person receiving money to prepare to become financially self-sufficient. During this time, the person receiving alimony is expected to look for full time employment and/or receive and education that would lead to full time employment.