Child Support Deviations & Adjustments
What are Child Support Deviations and Adjustments?
Have you ever wondered if the amount of monthly child support was set in stone or if it could adjusted downward or upward depending on the circumstances? Every family's situation is unique. When calculating child support, you may find that the presumptive amount of child support created by including both parents' income in the Online Georgia Child Support Calculator may not be a sufficient amount. Many times, there are several other factors that affect the child's needs and the ability of both parents to meet those needs.
There are two ways the Basic Child Support Obligation may be altered: these are through "Adjustments" and "Deviations." Adjustments may be required for you to take into account when calculating child support. On the other hand, deviations are discretionary and may be considered if appropriate. The two required Adjustments to the Basic Child Support Obligation include Work Related Child Care costs and the cost of Health Insurance Premiums. These two expenses must be taken into consideration by the court when determining Child Support and may cause the presumptive child support amount to increase or decrease. There are also a number of discretionary Deviations from the Basic Child Support Obligation, which may be ordered by the court to vary the presumptive amount upwards or downwards, depending on the situation. A list of common Deviations can be found below.
Mandatory Deviations/Adjustments to Child Support
Child Support Adjustments (sometimes to referred to as Mandatory Deviations), are two adjustments which must be taken into consideration when filling out the Online Georgia Child Support Calculator. The two Adjustments which must be taken into consideration are Work Related Child Care and Health Insurance Premiums for the child(ren) involved. These two Adjustments account for each parent's yearly expense for Work Related Child Care and Health Insurance Premiums and may cause the presumptive child support amount to increase or decrease.
Georgia Law requires that these two Adjustments shall be included in the Child Support Worksheet and Final Order, with one exception. Although Work Related Child Care is normally included in the Child Support Worksheet, Georgia Law currently allows a variable childcare expense to be handled outside of the worksheet by each party paying a pro-rata percentage of the childcare expense.
To learn more about Child Support Adjustments/Mandatory Deviations generally click here.
Work Related Child Care Expenses Adjustment
Work Related Child Care expenses are those expenses which a parent must incur in order to facilitate his or her employment, education, or vocational training. So long as a parent's Work Related Child Care expenses are appropriate, they must either be reflected in the Child Support Worksheet or, as mentioned above, if the childcare expense varies, assumed outside of the worksheet by each party paying a pro-rata percentage.
Health Insurance Premium Adjustment
Generally, one parent pays Health Insurance Premiums on behalf of the minor child(ren). Depending on which parent is making the child(ren)'s health insurance payments, the Basic Child Support Obligation will either increase or decrease.
Discretionary Deviations (Non-Mandatory Deviations)
Deviations (also known as Discretionary Deviations or Non-Mandatory Deviations) do not have to be included in your child support calculation. Deviations are discretionary and may be ordered by the court to increase or decrease the presumptive child support amount based on the court's consideration of the best interests of the child(ren). Deviations may be ordered but they don't have to be. To learn more about deviations generally click here. Below are the most common Deviations used in child support determinations.
Camp & Extracurricular Activities
Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit
Other Health Related Insurance
One of the most common deviations, the parenting time deviation changes the amount of child support when that amount would either be excessive or inadequate because of the the amount of time a particular parent spends with the children.
If the combined income of both parents exceeds a certain amount, the parents may be considered "high income" and their child support may be deviated upward to make the amount more appropriate given the combined income of both parents.
If the paying parent has no earning capacity or if it can be shown that paying child support would cause extreme financial hardship for that parent, this deviation may be used to adjust the child support obligation downward.
If court ordered visitation will incur significant travel expenses (for example if one parent lives out of state and must book flights and hotels for visitation) than those travel expenses can be taken into account as a deviation and the child support amount will be adjusted accordingly.
If either parent purchases life insurance for the benefit of their child, that purchase could be taken into consideration as a deviation and it could vary the amount of child support.
Extraordinary expenses are evaluated on a case by case basis. If it can be shown that there are expenses that are in excess of average normal expenses incurred by family, this may be taken into account for child support as a deviation.
The deviation covering camp & extracurriculars is called the "Allowable Special Expense Deviation". This may be sought if a parent pays for certain expenses, such as summer camp, music, sports, or other extracurricular activities.
If a parent pays for the child's private school tuition and other expenses these can be taken into account as a deviation for extraordinary educational expenses.
In a situation where the non-custodial parent pays for the residence where the minor child and the custodial parent reside, that parent might be able to reduce his or her final child support obligation using this deviation.
If either parent is court ordered to pay alimony, that payment could be considered as a discretionary deviation that could affect the final child support amount.
If one of the parents is entitled to use the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, the other parent could use this deviation to lower their child support obligation in the amount of the tax credit.
If premiums are paid by either parent on behalf of the minor child involved for health related insurance like vision insurance or dental insurance (expenses outside of the normal mandatory health Insurance deviation), then those expenses could be taken into account as a deviation.
Everyone's situation is unique and not every listed deviation may cover your situation. There may be other reasons/expenses that would necessitate a parent asking for a deviation of some kind. Those deviations fall here in the catch all category.