Calculation Of Child Support In Georgia
The Georgia legislature made updates in 2007 to child support formulas. Georgia currently follows the “income shares” model of child support calculation. First, both parents need to determine their incomes. Income from all sources counts. Consequently, this includes wages, bonuses, commissions, self-employment income, pensions, Social Security payments, unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation payments, and investment income. A parent who is found to be deliberately unemployed or underemployed may have income imputed. In other words, a court may calculate what the parent should earn, based on their age, education level, and skills.
After the total income of both parents is determined, the total child support obligation, based on the parents; combined income, is found on a table found in the Georgia Code. Each parent’s individual obligation has a calculation based on the parent’s share of their combined income. For example, if the parents’ combined income is $5,000 per month, the total child support obligation for one child would be $917. If both parents’ incomes are the same, each would be responsible for one-half of the total support obligation.
Finally, many factors can affect the end amount owed by the non-custodial parent. Therefore, which parent pays for child care, insurance, medical bills, and other expenses for the child can make a difference.
How Your Custody Arrangement Can Affect Child Support
There are two types of child custody in Georgia: legal custody, which determines who may make legal, medical, educational, and other decisions for the child, and physical custody, which determines where the child will live. Parents may have sole legal or physical custody, or joint legal or physical custody. Child support amounts may have an adjustment according to the amount of time the child is in the physical custody of each parent. If one parent has sole physical custody, the child is with that parent 100% of the time. In the example above, the non-custodial parent would have an obligation to pay one-half of the $917 total support obligation to the custodial parent. If the non-custodial parent spends more time with the child than regular visitation, the amount of child support may be decreased.
Can Carrollton Child Support Lawyers Modify Child Support?
Child support in Georgia is not set forever. In other words, changes in the circumstances for either parent may justify a modification of a support order. Some circumstances which may justify modification include:
- Loss of a job
- Illness or disability of the child
- A significant increase in income for either party
A Carrollton Child Support Lawyer can help if you believe modification of your child support amount is necessary.
Georgia Child Support Enforcement
Georgia Division of Child Support Services, a branch of the Department of Human Services, enforces child support orders. The court may take action against a parent who refuses to pay court-ordered child support such as:
- Withholding the amount from the obligor’s paycheck, unemployment benefits, or worker’s compensation payments.
- Taking money from state or federal income tax refunds.
- Suspend the obligor’s driver’s license or professional licenses.
- Place a lien on the obligor’s property.
- Find the obligor in contempt of court, with fines and possible jail time as penalties.
Moffit Law, LLC, a Carrollton Child Support Lawyer, can assist custodial parents in collecting child support. Firstly, they would file an action for contempt of court. Secondly, they would initiate the necessary procedures for the garnishment of wages, placing liens on the property, and then intercept income tax refund checks.
Enforcing Out Of State Orders In Georgia
Georgia Division of Child Support Services enforces child support orders from other states. This works just like the order from a Georgia court. Georgia’s support orders are still enforceable in any other state if the obligor moves. Subsequently, the Federal Parent Locator Service can provide assistance to find the non-custodial parent.
When Does A Support Obligation End?
The obligation to pay child support ends when the child reaches the age of 18, unless the child is still a full-time high school student, in which case it can continue until the child reaches the age of 20. If a child is handicap and unable to live on their own, the child support obligation may continue past the age of 18. Consequently, the obligation may last as long as the child lives.
Talk To A Carrollton Family Law Attorney
It is always best to have an experienced child support attorney on your side, especially when the other parent has an attorney. In other words, an attorney can help uncover hidden assets and income sources if the other parent is trying to minimize their support obligation. If you believe the other parent is trying to remain unemployed for the purpose of avoiding a child support obligation or increasing your obligation, you will need the advice of a child support expert. In some cases, the other parent may have a court order to pay some or all of your attorney’s fees.