At LifeLoveLaw we understand that your main concern during a divorce will be how it affects your children. This is why we offer affordable help with child support cases in Atlanta. Our Attorneys will work diligently make this transition as smooth as possible for all of you.
Couples with minor children are required to submit a parenting plan to the Georgia courts as part of their divorce. This lays out all of the guidelines for co-parenting the children going forward, including which parent the children will primarily be living with, when the parents spend time with the children and how decisions about the children will be made. Some details of what a parenting plan looks like can be found on our child custody page.
The state child support guidelines outline how much money is expected for the support and maintenance of the children. Each parent’s income is entered into the Georgia Child Support Worksheet, which serves as a guideline for the final child support obligation. Expenses for the children such as child care, health insurance premiums and any extraordinary expenses are also included entered.
The current model for calculating child support in Georgia involves nine steps as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15:
- Determine the monthly gross income of each parent.
- Adjust each parent’s monthly gross income; consider one-half of the amount of self-employment taxes; preexisting orders and theoretical child support order for qualified children if allowed by the court.
- The adjusted incomes of each parent is added to become the combined adjusted income.
- The adjusted income amount is the key figure used to determine child support. Take this figure and compare it to the child support obligation table. The basic child support obligation is based on the income bracket most closely matched to the combined adjusted income.
- After the basic child support obligation is determined, each parent’s pro rata share of child support is calculated by dividing the combined adjusted income into each parent’s adjusted income to arrive at each parent’s pro rata percentage of the basic child support obligation.
- Additional expenses such as the cost of health insurance and work-related child care are calculated for each parent according to the pro rata share of child support.
- The presumptive child support amount is determined by assigning or deducting a credit for actual payments for health insurance and work-related childcare costs.
- Deviations are subtracted from or increased to the presumptive amount. Deviations include, but are not limited to, the following: high income, low income, health related insurance, child and dependent care tax credit, travel expenses, alimony, mortgage, permanency plan or foster care plan, extraordinary expenses, parenting time and nonspecific deviations.
- Finally, the child support order will be the presumptive amount of child support as determined by deviations and any benefits the child receives under Title II of the federal Social Security Act are applied against the final child support order.
Other factors include how much time each parent has with the children and other forms of insurance, besides health care, that are paid for by the noncustodial parent. Within this framework, there is room to adjust for extracurricular activities and children with special needs, as well as other issues you and your spouse feel need to be addressed.
The Georgia Child Support Commission has created several child support calculators to help you determine what those amounts will look like. The electronic versions of the Worksheet and Schedules will do the math and calculations for you. The Data Entry Form will walk you through the whole process by asking you a series of questions. Then, it will fill out the forms for you.
If you are going through a divorce and all this seems like too much to deal with, contact LifeLoveLaw. We will help review your finances, as well as those of your spouse to determine what the child support contribution for one of you should be. We look at your financial situation in terms of what your children’s needs are and make any adjustments necessary to the proposed contribution. Whatever happens we will make sure you are treated fairly during this separation.