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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.

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.

1

Parenting Time

2

High Income

3

Low Income

4

Travel Expenses

5

Life Insurance

6

Extraordinary Expenses

7

Camp & Extracurricular Activities

8

Private School

9

Mortgage

10

Alimony

11

Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit

12

Other Health Related Insurance

13

Non-Specific Deviations

Parenting time deviation for child support
Parenting Time

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.

High income child support deviation.
High Income

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.

Low income child support deviation
Low Income

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.

Travel expenses deviation for child support.
Travel Expenses

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.

Life insurance deviation
Life Insurance

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 deviation for child support
Extraordinary Expenses

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.

Child support deviation for summer camp and extracurriculars.
Camp & Extracurricular Activities

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.

Child support deviation for private school.
Private School

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.

Paying the mortgage for a child support deviation.
Mortgage

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.

Paying Alimony for a Child Support Deviation.
Alimony

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.

Using the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to reduce your child support obligation.
Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit

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.

Other health related insurance costs for child support deviation.
Other Health Related Insurance

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.

a couple of people that are sitting in the grass
Non-Specific Deviations

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.

Additional Resources 

Feel free to read more about related topics. You've got questions, we're here with the answers you need. 
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