If you’re not familiar with the child support law changes in Georgia, you may think that it’s determined by a simple calculation based on the non-custodial parent’s income. In years past, it was not uncommon for 20% of the non-custodial parent’s gross income to be designated by the court for child support. In 2007, the law in Georgia related to child support calculations changed. The court began to look at other factors in addition to the gross income of the non-custodial parent.
In this blog, Family Matters Law Group wants to share the basic ideas behind the income worksheet for support calculations. So if you’re wondering how child support is calculated in Georgia, hopefully you’ll get a better idea on the amount of support you might be asked to provide.
Think of the total parental income as a giant pool. All of the income goes into the pool, and each parent contributes a percentage. Then, when the total amount necessary for the child is calculated, each parent contributes to that total amount in the same percentage they contributed to the pool.
For example, imagine a child needs $2,000 a month in support. The non-custodial father makes $6,000 per month and the custodial mother makes $4,000 per month. So, he contributes 60% of the household income and she contributes 40% of the household income. He would need to contribute 60% of the needed $2,000. This is a simple example, but it illustrates the general thinking behind Georgia’s “income shares” method of calculating child support.
Any and all income from both parents is now taken into account, not just the non-custodial parent’s gross income. So, when calculating child support in Georgia, the law requires that the total gross income of both parents be considered.
Along with your total income, courts consider several other factors when determining child support payments. Some of these other factors include:
The bottom line is that child support is no longer calculated by a simple percentage. It is a complex formula derived by the state of Georgia that is also subject to adjustment by the judge. It is vital that both parents submit accurate financial and expense records to the court so that the judge can determine a fair amount for the support.
Georgia has codified these child support requirements into a worksheet, called a child support calculator, that the court can use to determine a fair child support payment plan for both parents. To make the process easier, Georgia has an online version of the child support calculator, so you can find out your likely payments before going through the court system. Keep in mind that each state uses a different calculation method, so make sure that you use Georgia’s child support calculator for the most accurate results.Also keep in mind that this is just a rough estimate. Courts have the leeway to take other factors into account when calculating child support. Extraordinary circumstances such as medical care or tuition costs could change your child support payments.
An experienced family law attorney can help you give a more accurate financial portrayal to the court but can also help find hidden assets from your spouse that affect your child support payments.
If you’re in a custody battle and face uncertain child support payments, Family Matters Law Group is here to help. Our family law attorneys understand the complexities of Georgia’s child support payment process and will work hard to ensure you receive a payment plan that fits your needs. For more information on our services or to receive a free consultation, contact us today.