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What is a Child Support Worksheet

In Georgia, child support is based upon the income of both parents, along with several other factors that affect the child’s needs and the ability of both parents to meet those needs. Georgia’s child support worksheets provide the guidelines that are the minimum basis for determining the amount of child support that is most appropriate for a particular case.

The child support worksheet itself is a document used to enter the financial information of both parents to calculate the amount of child support.

Georgia’s child support worksheets or guidelines must be used by courts when entering child support orders regardless of whether the case is contested or uncontested. Hampton v. Nesmith, 249 Ga.App. 514 (2008). However these guidelines are only recommendations to the court and do not prevent the court from using its discretion in determining support obligations. O.C.G.A. 19-6-15(d). Additionally, parents who wish to come to an agreement concerning the amount of child support may use the child support worksheet in order to determine the proper amount of support. The worksheets provide a presumptive amount of child support that should be awarded to the custodial parent. This presumptive amount is rebuttable, and it may be deviated or modified upward or downward based on certain factors. These factors include:

  1. The best interest of the child or children for whom the support is being considered;
  2. The circumstances of the parties;
  3. The grounds for deviation; and,
  4. To achieve the state policy of affording to children of unmarried parents, to the extent possible, the same economic standard of living enjoyed by children living in intact families.

See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(c)(1).

In order to correctly complete a child support worksheet, you must first ascertain your gross income as well as the gross income of the other parent. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(a)(12). If you are unsure what to include as your gross income, see our pages entitled “Gross Income” and “imputed income” for help determining this figure.

Once you have both parents’ gross income amounts, next determine what the additional expenses both you and the other parent incur for health care and work related child care expenses. O.C.G.A. §§ 19-6-15(a)(13); 19-6-15(h)(2); 19-6-15(h)(1). This information will also be necessary for the child support calculation and must be included on the child support worksheet. When reviewing these items, please keep in mind there are mandatory deviations and non-mandatory deviations associated with each item.

How to Complete a Child Support Worksheet

In order to obtain a child support worksheet, you may visit Georgia’s Child Support Commission’s website and download a copy. The child support worksheet comes in several varieties: 1) the Standard Form, which is normally used by legal professionals; 2) the Worksheet with Data Entry Form; 3) the Pen and Paper Standard Worksheet; and 4) the Pen and Paper EZ Worksheet. If this is your first time using Georgia’s child support worksheet, it is recommended that you use version two, the data entry worksheet. This worksheet is a spreadsheet that automatically calculates your child support amount once you enter all of the required information. For more information on how to complete a child support worksheet, or to view a sample child support worksheet, read our section titled “How to Complete a Child Support Worksheet.”

Gross Income

Gross income is what the child support calculation is based on. However, there are several factors that play into what is considered gross income for the purposes of calculating child support in Georgia…(continue reading).

Imputed Income

If there is no reliable evidence of a parent’s income, the court will impute or assign that parent an income of at least minimum wage for the purposes of child support calculation. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(f)(4)(A). If the other parent believes that imputed income is too low, that parent may ask the court to further inquire into the income of the parent whose income was imputed…(continue reading).

Mandatory Deviations

In addition to the adjustments that may be made during the child support calculation discussed in our section titled “Gross Income,” there are also two deviations that should be taken into account during the child support calculation if they are applicable. There two deviations are known as mandatory deviations and may cause the presumptive child support amount to increase or decrease…(continue reading).

Non-Mandatory Deviations

In addition to the mandatory health insurance and work related child care cost mandatory deviations, there are several other non-mandatory deviations that may increase or decrease the presumptive amount of child support in Georgia. These deviations may include but are not limited to…(continue reading).

Duration of Child Support

The purpose of child support is to provide financial support for the care and maintenance of a child until he or she reaches the age of majority. However, under certain circumstances, child support may endure past a child’s 18th birthday. According to Georgia law, a court ordered judgment for child support will end according to the following circumstances . . . (continue reading).

College Expenses

In Georgia, courts cannot order parents to pay for college expenses. Pursuant to Georgia statutory law,  “It is the joint and several duty of each parent to provide for the maintenance, protection, and education of his or her child until the child reaches the age of majority, dies, marries, or becomes emancipated, whichever first occurs…” O.C.G.A. § 19-7-2. Additionally, in matters concerning child support orders resulting from divorce, separate maintenance, legitimacy, or paternity proceedings, the presiding court . . . (continue reading). 

Payment Methods

Many non-custodial parents who are obligated to pay child support often wonder: “What is the best method of paying child support?” The answer to this question is quite simple: Always pay your child support on time, according to the court order or agreement, and by a traceable and provable method . . . (continue reading).