Child Support

Child Support

Every divorce with minor children in Georgia will require the parents to address the issue of child support. This is a normal part of getting a divorce in Georgia when there are minor children involved.

Child support is not a punishment. Child support payments may present financial challenges for the non-custodial parent. It's important to keep in mind, the purpose of child support is to participate in taking care of the children. Working together is important.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support in Georgia, as in many other jurisdictions, is a court-ordered financial contribution from one parent to the other for the support and well-being of their child(ren) after a divorce or separation.

The primary goal of child support is to ensure that both parents contribute financially to meet the child's needs and maintain a standard of living similar to what the child would have enjoyed if the parents were still together.

Basic child support helps with the cost of normal living expenses such as housing, utilities, food, routine medical and dental care, clothing, childcare, etc.

While the Georgia guidelines provide a standard calculation, the court has the discretion to deviate from the guidelines based on specific circumstances. This may include extraordinary medical expenses, educational needs, extracurricular activities, or other needs.

How is Child Support Calculated in Georgia

The court uses a specific calculation to determine the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent (the parent with whom the child does not primarily reside) is required to pay to the custodial parent.

The basic child support calculation model uses a standard child support obligation table for the number of minor children to identify the monthly amount needed.

Next, the court considers the gross income of both parents. This includes income from all sources, such as wages, bonuses, commissions, and benefits.

The court identifies the percentage of combined income that is earned by the parent who will pay child support. This percentage is applied to the standard monthly rate to then determine the amount to be paid each month.

An example calculation where Parent 1 will be paying child support:
a) Monthly income: Parent 1 = $6,000, Parent 2 = $4,000
b) Total combined monthly income is $10,000
c) Parent 1 earns 60% of the combined monthly income.
d) Per the table, for $10,00 monthly income, the child support amount for two children is $1,749
e) Parent 1 makes 60% of income, which factored on $1,749, means a monthly child support payment of $1,049 is to be made to Parent 2.

How to Change Child Support Amounts in Georgia

Child support orders can be changed via a decree modification if there is a significant change in the income of either parent, the needs of a child, or similar life changes.

In Georgia, a request for modification may be made by a parent only every two years. This means that when your divorce is final you will have to wait at least two years to request a modification.

What is the Duration of Child Support in Georgia

Child support obligations typically continue until the child reaches the age of majority (18 years old in Georgia) but may extend beyond that if the child is still in high school or has special needs.

Failure to Pay, Enforcement and Collections

Child support orders are legally binding, and failure to comply may result in enforcement actions, such as wage garnishment, suspension of driver's licenses, or other legal consequences.

It is not uncommon for a parent to occasionally be temporarily behind, or late on payments. Infrequent issues should be worked out between the parents. Chronic problems may be addressed by having your divorce lawyer file a motion for contempt.

How Much Back Child Support is a Felony?

There are laws that define the amount of past due payments and length of time being past due that are grounds for felony charges. In some cases, being significantly behind in child support payment can be a State felony and also be cause for federal charges.

It's important for parents in Georgia to work with their attorneys to ensure that child support orders are fair and accurately reflect the child's needs and the financial abilities of both parents. Consulting with a family law attorney is crucial to understanding the specific nuances of child support laws and regulations in Georgia.

Get the legal help you need. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer. Call 706-253-3060 or contact us online.