Once parents decide to separate or divorce, they must find a way to work with one another to meet their children’s needs. It can often be very challenging for parents to handle this transition, and they may disagree about everything from how much time each parent spends with the children to how much child support is necessary.
Georgia has a relatively straightforward approach to child support that considers income, outside support obligations and other family factors.
Parents adjust and compare incomes
The monthly income of each parent includes all sources of income other than welfare benefits. An individual needs to determine their gross pay and then make certain adjustments. For example, if someone has an existing child support order or different beneficiaries, that support amount will reduce their adjusted income.
The courts then add compare the adjusted income of both of the parents to determine the percentage of income earned by each parent. That, combined with the monthly support obligation established by the state based on income, will help determine how much one parent pays in child support. The courts will also look at the division of parenting time and special needs within the family when setting support levels. Current financial contributions by either parent may also influence what a judge decides is the right amount of support.
Judges may also consider a parent’s choice to cover certain costs including:
- life insurance
- health insurance
- school tuition
- travel expenses for custody exchanges
Even unusually high- or low-income levels can potentially influence what a judge believes is reasonable for a family.
What if the support amount doesn’t seem appropriate?
Family circumstances change, and child support may need to change as well. When the situation for the parent receiving support or paying support changes significantly, the support order may need to adapt to reflect those developments. Either parent can potentially request a review and a support modification when the current calculated amount no longer reflects the family circumstances.
Seeking legal guidance to learn more about the basics of child support in Georgia can help those who are expecting to receive or pay support in the near future.