Atlanta Child Support

Child SupportAre you a parent who is going through a divorce in Atlanta? If so, you need an experienced Atlanta child support attorney in your corner. Your lawyer will ensure that you can financially provide for your children in the future. To do this, you and your spouse must pay child support.

The state of Georgia presumes that both parents will financially support their child following a divorce or split between unmarried parents. Calculating child support in Georgia is done through the use of the “Income Shares Model.” This model estimates the total amount that the parents would have spent on a child had they stayed together—then splits the amount proportionately, according to the individual income of each parent, as well as on how much time each parent spends with the child.

Custodial and non-custodial parents must be designated—the custodial parent usually has the child more than half the time, while the non-custodial parent has the child less than half the time. Even in a joint custody situation, one parent will probably still have the child more often than the other. If joint custody results in almost exactly equal time spent with the child, then the parent with the higher income will be treated as the non-custodial parent—and required to pay child support.

How is Parental Income Determined?

Monthly gross income will be determined and includes most types of income, including:

  • Self-employment income
  • Wages and salaries
  • Commissions, bonuses, and tips
  • Income from trusts and dividends
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Overtime pay
  • Military pensions

Gross income does not include child support received from children from another marriage or relationship, or public assistance. If a parent is willfully unemployed, then income can be imputed for that parent. This means that if the parent is not working or is underemployed specifically to avoid paying child support, the court will use the income the parent would have been making if they had remained employed in their normal profession.

Calculating Child Support in Georgia

To calculate child support in the state of Georgia, the adjusted gross incomes of both parents will be added together. This total will be found in the Basic Child Support Obligation Table in the “Adjusted” column. The amount of child support necessary will then be determined by how many children are to be supported. Once you have this amount on the table, each parent’s income will be divided by their combined income to determine the percentage each parent is responsible for.

Adjustments to this amount come in the form of the cost of the child’s health insurance, along with any work-related childcare costs, i.e., if one parent is paying the health insurance for the child, then their portion of child support obligation will be decreased by that amount. A Georgia judge can deviate from the child support guidelines under certain circumstances, which include:

  • The guideline amount fails to accurately reflect the paying parent’s ability to pay
  • A different amount is ordered to serve the best interests of the child
  • The combined gross income of the parents is unusually high
  • One parent’s income is very low
  • A parent must travel a significant distance for visitation
  • There are extraordinary expenses associated with a special needs child, the cost of private school, or some other extremely high expense necessary for the child’s well-being
  • The non-custodial parent spends significantly more time with the children than the standard visitation schedule details

Child support usually ends when the child turns 18, but there are a couple of exceptions. If you are dealing with a child support issue, having a knowledgeable Atlanta child support attorney can make the situation much easier.