Child Support is the amount that a non-custodial parent pays to financially provide for a child or children. Often it is paid to a custodial parent. However, it can also be paid to a guardian or other individual (such as a grandparent) that is taking care of the child or children.
In Georgia, formal child support is established through an order from a judge. However, parents often agree to informal child support that they pay to each other without going to court.
Calculating child support is a very complex process. It is usually calculated using excel worksheets or an online calculator. The excel worksheets and online calculators can be found by clicking here. Although the worksheets and calculators will give a support amount for both parents, only the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.
How Income is Calculated
To begin, each parent is required to provide the court with his/her monthly gross income. Common examples of income include wages, commissions, self-employment earnings, retirement account payments, disability payments, and investment income. If you, or the other parent, is self-employed, it is not advised that you attempt to calculate child support without the help of an attorney. There are certain deductions which can be made that may decrease the amount of child support that a self-employed individual pays.
Important Tip! You can deduct the amount of child support that you pay in another case to reduce your monthly income. However, the amount of child support that you receive in another case does not increase your monthly income.
How Child Support is Calculated
The Commission on Child Support has determined the amount of money that it takes each month to raise a child. This is called the Basic Child Support Obligation (BSO). The BSO takes into account the adjusted income of both parents and the number of children involved. You view the BSO schedule by clicking here. To find your BSO, add together the parents’ adjusted gross incomes and match it to the amount listed to the far left on the table. Once you’ve matched it to the amount on the left of the table, look at the totals within the column containing the applicable number of children.
Once the BSO is determined, each parent is required to pay a share of it. Each parent’s share is determined by dividing each parent’s income by the combined income. This will result in a percentage. Each parent will be required to pay the percentage of the BSO that is assigned to him/her.
However, the percentage that each parent pays can be adjusted during certain situations. Adjustments can be made for payments made for health insurance and child care-related expenses. Additionally, a judge may allow deviations from the child support amount that non custodial parents are required to pay. These deviations could be made due to the non custodial parent’s ability to pay, equal parenting time and the best interests of the children. Judges have also permitted deviations based on extraordinary educational or medical expenses or other special expenses for a child, such as sports or music lessons.
As you can see, calculating child support in Georgia is a complicated process. It involves correctly determining the income of both parents. It also involves making sure that the proper adjustments and/or deviations are made. At the Holloway Firm, we are experienced in calculating child support. We assist our clients in making sure that they take advantage of all adjustments and deviations that the law allows. We also carefully review the other parent’s information to ensure that they are not improperly trying to reduce their financial obligation.
If you would like to discuss obtaining or modifying child support, give our Atlanta, Georgia based attorneys a call at (678) 390-3503 to schedule a consultation.