Meriwether & Tharp, LLC
6788799000 Meriwether & Tharp, LLC 1545 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 300 Varied
If you have divorce questions

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 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, (read more about deviations here)
  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).

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

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. See below for more info on gross income.

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. 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. As you are filling out these items, you will notice that the worksheet/calculator will start to automatically calculate the presumptive amount of child support for you.

For a more detailed "how to" on completing the worksheet, or to view a sample Child Support Worksheet, read our page titled "How to Complete a Child Support Worksheet."

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.

Imputed Income

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.

Mandatory Deviations 

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.

Non-Mandatory Deviations 

In 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.

Additional Related Topics 

Who pays college expenses and which payment methods are ok? These are two frequently asked about topics. Feel free to learn more about these topics.
Did this article help you?
Thank you, we appreciate your feedback!