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As discussed in our articles entitled “Mandatory Deviations from Presumptive Child Support Amount” and “Non-mandatory Deviations from Presumptive Child Support Amount,” under Georgia’s child support guidelines, there are certain adjustments or deviations that must be made to the presumptive child support amount, and there are deviations that may be made to the presumptive child support amount by the court presiding over a divorce or any other domestic relations matter concerning child custody or child support. These adjustments or deviations are referred to as mandatory deviations and non-mandatory deviations, respectively. The two mandatory deviations that must be made to the presumptive child support amount once it is determined are deviations based on the payment of health insurance premiums on the behalf of the minor child and the payment of work related child care expenses by either parent.
If one parent pays health insurance premiums on behalf of the minor child, these payments must be considered.
According to the Official Code of Georgia: “The Amount that is, or will be, paid by a parent for health insurance for the child for whom support is being determined shall be an adjustment to the basic child support obligation and prorated between the parents based upon their respective incomes.” O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(h)(2)(A). What this means is that if one parent pays health insurance premiums on behalf of the minor child, not including payments made for the child’s portion of vision or dental insurance, these payments must be considered when calculating the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation. See O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(h)(2)(A)(I) and O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(i)(2)(C). Depending on which parent pays the child’s portion of health insurance premiums, the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation may be increased or decreased. Id.
The mandatory health insurance deviation is found in Schedule D of Georgia’s Child Support Worksheet. Specifically, as can be seen below, this deviation is listed in section 2 of Schedule D and is titled: “Health Insurance Premiums Paid for the Children.”
The amount paid by either parent should be placed in the appropriate field. For example, if the Mother is paying $200 per month for the child’s portion of health insurance, this amount should be placed in the yellow field found under the Mother column. It is important to note that this deviation is not a “dollar for dollar” deviation, but it is a pro rata adjustment generated by the formulas contained within the Child Support Worksheet. Essentially, this means even though Mother pays $200 per month for the child’s health insurance costs, her child support obligation would not be reduced by $200, but it would be adjusted downward based on the calculations embedded within the Child Support Worksheet.