Determining the Amount of Child Support and Whether the Amount should be Adjusted Upward or Downward
Child Support in Georgia
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Calculating Child Support Step by Step
The Child Support Worksheet
Child Support in Georgia is calculated using the Child Support Worksheet. The Child Support Worksheet should be filled out online using the Georgia Online Child Support Calculator. You will need to sign up and create a log in. You will need to have both your income information and your spouses' income information handy.
Filling Out The Child Support Worksheet
To complete the child support worksheet, you must must gather all of your monthly income information and the other parent's monthly income information as well. The worksheet requires you to enter in both parties' monthly gross income. Once your income information is filled out, the worksheet will generate a "presumptive amount" of monthly child support that could be varied upward or downward in amount by using deviations.
Calculating Monthly Income
The worksheet requires you to enter in your monthly gross income. Gross income includes more than just salary and wages, it can include nearly any type of income. It's important to familiarize yourself with what must be included. Even if your income is variable from month to month or you don't earn a monthly income, you will still be required to input something in the worksheet.
Adjustments & Deviations: Changing the Amount
When calculating child support, the worksheet creates a presumptive amount of child support based on both spouses' monthly income. It is possible that this amount may not be the fair and equitable amount - it may be necessary to adjust or deviate that amount upward or downward depending on each family's unique circumstances. Child Support Adjustments are mandatory adjustments to the child support amount. They must be used if they are applicable. Deviations (also known as non-mandatory deviations or discretionary deviations) do not have to be considered unless the parties agree to consider it or judge decides it is necessary.
Finalizing Child Support
Once the Georgia Online Child Support Calculator is filled out, the worksheet created is then printed. Both parties can agree and sign off on the amount in the worksheet and submit this worksheet to court to be signed and made into a court order. If the parties disagree, and each has their own worksheet with differing amounts, the court will consider both worksheets and applicable deviations and the court will use its discretion to determine the correct child support monthly amount.
When Does Child Support End?
Child support typically ends when the minor child reaches 18 years old. However, Georgia law allows for certain situations where child support could end early or situations where it may extend to 20 years old. Every family's situation is unique - marriage, emancipation, death etc. can all alter the situation.
What if Child Support isn't Being Paid?
If child support isn't being paid there are several penalties for the delinquent payer like being found in contempt of court, license revocation, wage garnishment or even jail. The parent seeking child support can choose to file a contempt action to have their child support order enforced. Note that there are some defenses the delinquent payer could use like "inability to pay".
Child Support FAQs
Child support is not deductible to the parent paying support and it cannot be included in the income of the parent receiving support. Normally, one parent could use the deduction for dependency exemptions - but that deduction is suspended from 2018 through 2025 via the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Please note that a larger more robust Child Care Tax Credit is available for qualifying parents.
Courts cannot order parents in Georgia to pay college expenses. If the parties wish to designate who will pay college expenses, they may include the agreed upon provision in their Settlement Agreement. Both parties may sign and agree to this provision and submit it to the court. Agreements to pay college expenses operate under contract law rather than the law that governs child support.