The court can deviate from the presumptive child support amount calculated by the child support worksheets for several reasons, IF the child support deviation is in the best interest of the child(ren) for whom child support is being determined. OCGA §19-6-15(i)(1)(A). The tenth deviation category under the statute is extraordinary expenses. OCGA §19-6-15(i)(2)(J). Generally, child support is based upon “average child expenses for families given the parents’ combined adjusted income and number of children.” Id. The legislature recognized that expenses for children are highly variable and, thus, included this deviation so that these expenses may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Id. If extraordinary expenses are found, they “shall be prorated between the parents by assigning or deducting credit for actual payments” made for these extraordinary expenses. Id.
There are three types of extraordinary expenses that may be considered:
1. Extraordinary educational expenses – Includes tuition, room and board, lab fees, books, fees, and other reasonable and necessary expenses associated with education OCGA§19-6-15(i)(2)(J)(i). Expenses must be “appropriate to the parent’s financial abilities and to the lifestyle of the child if the parents and the child were living together.” Id.
2. Special expenses incurred for child rearing – Includes summer camp, music/art lessons, extracurricular activities. The basic child support obligation covers average amounts for these expenses, but “when these special expenses exceed 7 percent of the basic child support obligation, then the additional amount of special expenses shall be considered as a deviation to cover the full amount of the special expenses.” OCGA §19-6-15(i)(2)(J)(ii).
3. Extraordinary medical expenses – Includes medical expenses not covered by insurance that cause extreme economic hardship. OCGA §19-6-15(i)(2)(J)(iii).