Child support guidelines in Georgia and other states often change by legislative action. State governments enact child support guidelines designed to protect the rights of children and parents.
To schedule a consultation with an experienced metro Atlanta child support attorney, contact us at Anthony M. Zezima, P.C.
In Georgia, both parents are obligated to provide for the support of a child until the child reaches the age of 18, or graduates from high school, whichever is later, but no later than age 20. There is no obligation to support a child in college or post-graduate studies. However, whatever the parties agree to in settlement negotiations, and include in the Final Decree of Divorce, will be enforced by the courts as if it were law.
The total monthly income of the two parents is applied to the schedule of the basic child support obligation table. You can see the table, as well as the Child Support Worksheet, by clicking here: Child Support Calculator.
The share of this obligation for each parent is determined by prorating the number on this table according to the percentage of each parent's income to the total income.
Application of these guidelines creates a presumption that the amount of child support is correct. The court must make specific findings on the record that there is sufficient reason to vary from these guidelines.
Some of the statutory factors which the court may consider in making a determination to adjust the guidelines are:
Pre-existing child support orders still being paid for other children
The cost of health insurance and work-related child care
Self- employment taxes
Social Security benefits paid for children
Parenting time exercised by the noncustodial parent
Extraordinary medical costs
Extraordinary educational costs
One party's other support obligations to another household
Income that should be imputed to a party because of suppression of income
In-kind income for the self-employed, such as reimbursed meals or a company car
Other support a party is providing or will be providing, such as payment of a mortgage
A party's own extraordinary needs, such as medical expenses
In-kind contribution of either parent
Extraordinary travel expenses to exercise visitation or shared physical custody
The child support guidelines are the same whether the support obligation arises out of a divorce or a paternity action. The courts will also use these guidelines in interstate child support cases.
Child support may be modified, up or down, whenever there is a substantial change in income or financial circumstances of either party, or the needs of the children. A modification action may be filed by either party at any time after the divorce or initial final order of support. Another modification action may not be filed by the same party until two years have passed from the previous final order of modification, regardless of the outcome.
As with other financial issues in a divorce, either party may choose to have the permanent determination of child support decided by a jury, whether it is the initial determination or a modification. A judge, sitting without a jury, may make a temporary award of support, or temporary modification, while the parties are waiting for a jury trial.
Appeals of decisions regarding child support are subject to a discretionary appeals process, whereby parties must seek permission to appeal the decision.
Under Georgia law, an obligation of child support continues until child support modifications are formalized by a formal order of the court. The parties cannot agree to change it without court intervention, and it will not change or terminate when a child goes to live with the other parent. There is no statute of limitations on the collection of past-due support, and interest will be added at the statutory rate from the time each payment becomes due.
Contact Georgia support enforcement lawyer Anthony M. Zezima, P.C., to schedule an initial consultation on the subject of child custody or child support enforcement or any related legal matter.