Divorce – Child Support
Child Support in Georgia – Using Georgia Child Support Calculator – gross Income, child care expense, health care costs, parenting time, joint custody, split custody and other child support issues.
When children and child support are involved, divorce becomes a much more complicated matter. Determining the proper amount of child support requires an experienced attorney familiar with Georgia’s child support and custody laws. We have the knowledge, experience and skill to assist you in dealing with this process. We represent individuals in divorce and child support cases throughout North Georgia including Cobb County and Cherokee County; and Canton, Woodstock, Towne Lake, Acworth, Marietta, and Kennesaw. Contact us today to discuss your situation.
Gross Income: The gross income of each of the marital parties is the starting point for the calculation of child support. Gross income is defined to include almost all types of income that individuals have including salaries, wages, commissions, tips, self-employment income, bonuses, interest and dividend income, capital gains, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation income benefits, and even lottery winnings. Employment “fringe” benefits which significantly reduce a parties personal living expenses may also be included in the gross income of a party. Where income is received on an irregular basis, it will be averaged over a reasonable period of time so that it reflects a more accurate monthly income. Gross income can also include income which is imputed to a party. This may occur when the party fails or is unable to provide reasonable proof of his or her income. Income can also be imputed when a party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.
There are some items which are treated as adjustments or exclusions to gross income. Where payments are actually being made under a pre-existing child support order, a party’s gross income will be reduced. Income received by either party as child support from another relationship is not included in gross income. Income received from means-tested public assistance programs is also excluded from gross income. These can include PeachCare for Kids, food stamps, and supplemental security income (SSI).
Adjustments to and Deviations from Child Support Guidelines. There are numerous adjustments to and deviations from the child support guidelines. These include but are not limited to the following:
•1. Work-related child care expenses;
•2. Health insurance premiums;
•3. High income deviations (combined adjusted income over $30,000 per month);
•4. Low income deviations (income of less than $900 per month) Note; $75.00 per month is the minimum amount of child support even when there is low income situation;
•5. Travel expenses for visitation; and,
•6. Extraordinary expenses for education or medical care of the minor.
Parenting Time or the amount of time that a non-custodial parent spends with a minor child or children can also be considered. A deviation from the amount of the child support can be made where there is extended parenting time or where the child resides with both parents equally.
Uninsured Health Care Expenses: These expenses include most medical, dental, vision, mental health and other reasonably necessary expenses incurred for the health care of a minor child when and to the extent not paid for by health insurance. Amounts paid for “deductibles” or “co-pays” are considered to be uninsured health care expenses. The final order of the court will include an allocation of these expenses between the parties.
College Education: As discussed above, the parties can agree to payment of child support beyond the age of majority, and this can include the payment of college expenses for the child as a post-majority support obligation. The court cannot enter an order requiring the payment of college expenses without the agreement of the parties. However, if the parties do agree and their agreement is made a part of the court’s final order, then the court has the authority to enforce these payments. Post-majority support obligations are not subject to involuntary modification by the court.
Split Parenting: This term is used to describe a situation in which there are two or more minor children of the parties, and each parent will have primary physical custody of at least one of the children. The court will require that there be a separate Child Support Worksheet prepared for each parent, and that there be a separate child support award for each parent.
Joint Custody and Child Support: Shared or joint physical custody of a minor child or children is possible in Georgia, but it presents complications for computation of child support. The Child Support Calculator requires that one party be designated as the custodial parent and that the non-custodial parent pay the custodial parent the resulting calculated child support amount. Parenting time and other deviations can be used to alter or offset this result. If the parties want there to be no child support payments, then they should be prepared to justify that and to show how that would be in the “best interest of the child or children”. As a side note, sometime one of the parents wants to have joint custody as a means to avoid paying child support. This is not acceptable to the court and should not be agreed to by the other party.
When children and child support are involved, divorce becomes a much more complicated matter. Determining the proper amount of child support requires an experienced attorney familiar with Georgia’s child support and custody laws. We have the knowledge, experience and skill to assist you in dealing with this process. We represent individuals in divorce and child support cases throughout North Georgia including Cobb County and Cherokee County; and Woodstock, Towne Lake, Acworth, Marietta, Canton and Kennesaw. Contact us today to discuss your situation.