The Child Support Worksheet
What is a Child Support Worksheet?
The child support worksheet itself is a document used to enter the financial information of both parents to calculate the amount of child support. 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. The Worksheet provides the guidelines that are the minimum basis for determining the amount of child support that is most appropriate for a particular case.
How do Courts Use the Worksheet?
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).
Raising or Lowering the Amount of Support
After entering in all the pertinent information, the child support worksheet will provide a "presumptive amount" of child support that should be awarded
to the custodial parent. This presumptive amount is rebuttable, meaning that the amount may be
deviated or modified upward or downward based on certain factors. These factors
M&T Practice Pointer: Child Support Agreements
Did you know that parents can agree to the child support amount instead of letting the judge decide? 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. They may both sign off on this agreed to worksheet amount and submit it to the court for approval when finalizing their divorce.
How to Complete the Child Support Worksheet
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. See below for more info on gross income.
Gross income is one of the most important factors when calculating child support. To fill out the Child Support Worksheet, you will need to know your monthly gross income and your spouse's monthly gross income as well. Gross income is generally all income from any source - not just your salary.
What if your spouse does not work or you don't have any evidence that they work and earn an 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 calculating support using the worksheet.
The presumptive child support amount can be deviated upward or downward when certain adjustments or "deviations" are taken into account. Some deviations like the child's health insurance premium are mandatory and must be accounted for on the Worksheet.
addition to Mandatory Deviations, there are several other Non-Mandatory deviations (ex: travel expenses, private school etc.) that may
increase or decrease the presumptive amount of child support on the Worksheet.
Online Child Support Calculator
The Georgia Child Support Worksheet is now created online using the Georgia Online Child Support Calculator. Information entered in the calculator is used to determine a presumptive amount of child support that may be deviated from to reach a final child support amount. To begin the process of creating a Child Support Worksheet using the Georgia Online Child Support Calculator, please visit the Georgia's Child Support Commission's website and create a login by clicking "Signup" at the top of the page. Once you have successfully filled out all the required information for the Georgia Online Child Support Calculator, a printable electronic version of the Child Support Worksheet is produced for filing with the court.