What is child support, and what does it cover?
Child support is assistance, usually financial, which is owed by parents to and for the child’s benefit. GA Child support covers basic necessities (food, clothing shelter), medical care, uninsured medical expenses, educational fees, childcare, transportation/travel, entertainment, extracurricular activities, and college expenses.
How long does child support last?
In Georgia child support generally continues until the child turns 18. However, child support can be extended past age 18 under certain circumstances. For instance, if the child is still in high school past age 18, support will continue until the child finishes high school or reaches age 20.
Child support ends when the child:
- Reaches the age of 18 (in many instances)
- Gets married
- Is emancipated
- Joins the military
- The obligated parent dies
- The parent who is the child’s legal custodian dies
- Or the obligated parent acquires legal custody of the child
What are Georgia’s child support guidelines?
In 2007, Georgia’s new child support guidelines became effective. Georgia now uses an Income Shares Model in child support looks at both of the parents income to determine how much child support the noncustodial parent will be ordered to pay.
The court determines both parent’s gross income, which includes both parent’s salary, commissions, self-employment income, bonuses, overtime pay, severance pay, pension, and retirement income, interest income, dividend income, trust income, worker’s compensation benefits, and other sources of income. Before 2007 in Georgia, child support was calculated based on only the non-custodial parent’s gross income.
Georgia Child Support Calculator: The Georgia Commission on Child Support provides an online calculator and two Excel calculators to find child support calculations.
However, Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines are just guidelines, and the court may increase or decrease the child support order based on individual circumstances and the child’s best interest.
- High Income of the parents
- Low Income of the non-custodial parent
- Health-related insurance
- Life Insurance
- Child and dependent care tax credit
- Travel expenses
- Permanency plan or foster care plan
- Extraordinary expenses, such as medical conditions or education expenses
- Actual parenting time
How much spousal support can I receive?
- Each spouse’s employment prospects, debts, and financial resources
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
- Each spouse’s age and health
- How long the marriage lasted
What if the child’s other parent doesn’t pay?
In the event of the obligor failing or refusing to pay the court ordered monthly sum, a number of measures can be taken to ensure the continued delivery of child support to the obligee. These include the following:
- Wage garnishment – Should the obligor continually fail to deliver child support, a portion of his or her wages can be withheld by the court and passed on to the custodial parent. This is generally referred to as wage garnishment and while effective, can be somewhat difficult to secure. Georgia parents hoping to resolve unpaid child support in this manner should seek the help of Fennell, Briasco, & Associates to ensure wage garnishment is both obtained and maintained throughout the development of the child.
- License suspension – The Court has the power to suspend the driver’s license of any parent who fails to meet child support payments assigned by the court. In extreme cases, the paying parent may even see their license revoked. The suspension or revocation of a license is recognized as an extreme measure and the Georgia Division of Child Support Services has recently introduced a number of alternatives, but custodial parents may sometimes find it necessary in order to ensure continuous monthly payments.
- Contempt – If an obligor regularly refuses to pay the child support sum decided upon by a judge, he or she can be held in contempt of court and a jail sentence is almost a certainty. Again, this is an extreme measure and custodial parents considering pursuing a ruling of contempt should consult an attorney before choosing to proceed. At Fennell, Briasco, & Associates, the well-being of the child is our primary concern. We will help you explore alternative methods of securing payment in order to avoid the child being without one parent. However, if we believe the obligor being held in contempt of court is in the best interest of the child and custodial parent, we will do everything in our power to ensure the Court comes to the same conclusion.
Can you modify child support in Georgia when circumstances change?
- A serious accident or illness that causes the parent to be unable to work. This must be expected to last at least one year.
- An involuntary loss of 25 percent or more of the parent’s income.
- Either parent beginning Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, benefits.
- An unexpected windfall, such as winning the lottery or receiving an inheritance.
- A voluntary change in employment.
- New financial obligations, like the birth of another child or the purchase of a home.
- A change in marital status.
Using a Georgia Family Law Attorney is Paramount
The issue of child support can create tension between the parents of the child in question. Observing their parents embroiled in a court battle can cause the child a great deal of stress and affect their confidence and relationships in later life, so disagreements pertaining to child support should be solved in as timely a manner as possible. Fennell, Briasco, & Associates can be relied upon to ensure a quick resolution to all child support disputes and will ensure a monthly sum is established and paid without fail. Call our law firm today at (770) 956-4030 or a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Child Support is calculated according to the law of the state. In Georgia, Child Support is calculated using the Child Support Worksheet and Schedules, which acts as a calculator, using certain pieces of information related to the incomes of the parents and certain expenses paid on behalf of the children.
A contested divorce is the exact opposite. In a contested divorce, the parties cannot agree on all the issues, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. One of the spouses also might not want the divorce. They might have to come to an agreement through a divorce mediator or a judge making the final decision.
Special needs of children may be calculated into the monthly child support obligation, depending upon the needs and circumstances. You will need to disclose all diagnoses, expenses related to the special needs, and information about the extent of the special needs to your attorney so that these expenses can be appropriately included.
The amount of monthly support depends upon many factors, including the number of children eligible for support, the custodial arrangement of those children, the gross incomes of both parties, and certain expenses related to the children.
Children are only eligible for child support while they are minors. However, should a child reach the age of 18 while still enrolled in and attending high school, then child support continues until the child graduates, not to exceed age 20. Additionally, if a child is under 18, but emancipates themselves by getting married, entering military service, or other forms of legal emancipation, then child support terminates.
Child Support is used for any expenses that benefit the minor child, such as food, clothing, school supplies, and other basic necessities. This also includes the cost of house and utilities as those items directly benefit the child.