Child Support

A Parent’s Financial Obligation to Child

The public policy of the state of Georgia is to require parents to provide adequate support for their minor children, regardless of whether the child’s parents were ever married. Also, where parents are divorced or separated, they are obligated both to their child and to society to support their child.

child support suwanee gaGeorgia law mandates the use of a Child Support Worksheet in determining the financial, child support obligations of parents.  Submission of a Child Support Worksheet is required in child support cases and divorces with children.  The Worksheet not only takes into consideration parents’ gross monthly income but also considers certain common and special expenses of the child.  Other financial information may also be considered on the Child Support Worksheet, which may also effect the potential child support obligations of the parents.  The Worksheet’s formulas produce a presumptive child support obligation based upon all the financial information inputted into the Worksheet.

The foundation of a child support determination is the gross monthly income of the parents.  Determining a parent’s gross monthly income can demand investigation into a parent’s earnings and income sources, and collection of financial evidence.

It is also important to understand the effect that a child’s common and special expenses and other financial information of the parents can have on child support.  Deviations from the presumptive amount of child support produced by the Worksheet may be claimed if properly presented by certain parties.

Alford & Burkhart LLC have the legal tools and knowledge to investigate and determine a parent’s true income for child support purposes.  As experienced family law attorneys, Alford & Burkhart LLC know how to properly present financial information on a Child Support Worksheet to best advocate for their client’s position.

Key Terms for Child Support

Child Support Worksheet

In all cases in Georgia involving child support, Georgia law requires that the court or jury use a Child Support Worksheet to determine monthly child support obligations.

Monthly Gross Income Determination

To determine child support, the court will need to know each parent’s total monthly gross income, which includes salary and wages, commissions, fees, tips, bonuses, self-employment income, overtime payments, severance pay, income from pensions or retirement plans, interest income, income from annuities, capital gains, social security disability or retirement benefits, veterans’ disability benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, judgments from personal injury or other civil cases, gifts, prizes, lottery winnings, alimony, family assets, fringe benefits, and any other income.

Adjustments to Gross Income

In determining child support, parents may ask the court to adjust their monthly gross income for self-employment taxes paid, pre-existing child support orders being paid, and other qualified children living in a parent’s home.

Adjustments for Child Care and Health Insurance Expenses

In determining child support, a parents’ child support obligation may be adjusted depending on who pays for a child’s child care expenses and health insurance expenses.

Presumptive Amount of Child Support

Georgia law mandates that in all cases involving child support, the court or jury must use a Child Support Worksheet to determine the presumptive amount of child support based upon the parents’ monthly gross income and adjustments to income.  Parents may request deviations from the presumptive amount but deviations are in the discretion of the court or jury.

Deviations

A court or jury has the discretion to deviate from the presumptive amount of child support on the child support worksheet.  The permitted deviations may be for a parent’s low income, a parent’s high income, insurance expenses, alimony paid, visitation related travel expenses, mortgage expenses, extraordinary educational or medical expenses of the child, and several other reasons.  A “non-custodial parent” may also request a discretionary deviation for parenting time called a “Parenting Time Deviation.”

Child support may be established through Paternity Suits, Separate Maintenance Actions, Divorce, Family Violence Act Protective Orders, Change in Custody Actions, and Modification Actions.

Child Support Modification

A parent may request a modification of an award, regardless of the length of time since the award was established, when there has been a substantial change in either parents’ income and financial status or the needs of the child.

Modifications may also be available based upon changes in custody and the involuntary loss of parent’s employment.

Alford & Burkhart LLC assist parents in determining if a modification action is a viable or proper action.  In a modification action, the financial figures on the parties’ Child Support Worksheets must be reviewed and updated, which takes experience and familiarity with how the Worksheets work.  When a modification action is filed, it is important that the reported income of the parents is verified through investigation and that investigation should be done by experienced family law attorneys such as those at Alford & Burkhart LLC.  Modification can be an intricate proceeding but Alford & Burkhart LLC offer their clients legal guidance and advice to accomplish their goals from these proceedings.