Child Support Adjustments/Mandatory Deviations
What are Child Support Adjustments/Mandatory Deviations?
When filling out the child support worksheet for purposes of calculating child support in Georgia, there are several adjustments or deviations that must be taken into consideration. In addition to the adjustments that may be made during the child support calculation discussed in our section titled "Gross Income," for purposes of calculating child support in Georgia there are two Adjustments (sometimes referred to as Mandatory Deviations) which must be taken into consideration. These include 1) Work Related Child Care and 2) 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.
According to Georgia Law these Adjustments (mandatory deviations) must be included in the Child Support Worksheet and Final Order, with one exception. While Work Related Child Care is usually included in the Child Support Worksheet, Georgia Law changed in 2018 to allow a variable childcare expense to be handled outside of the worksheet. If the childcare expense is handled outside the worksheet, the parties each pay a pro-rata percentage, enforceable in the same way as child support.
What Expenses are Considered for Child Support Adjustments?
Work Related Child Care Expense Adjustment
Work Related Child Care is defined as an expense a parent must incur in order to facilitate his or her employment, education, or vocational training. These expenses must be included in the child support calculation, unless they vary from year-to year (explained herein). Before an Adjustment based on these expenses will be approved by a court, the judge must determine that the expenses are appropriate to the parent's financial abilities and to the lifestyle of the child, if the parent and the child are living together. If these expenses are deemed appropriate, they will be reflected in the child support calculation on the Child Support Worksheet. They will cause the Basic Child Support Obligation to be lowered or raised depending on the situation.
If childcare is provided free of charge or if a parent's childcare costs are being subsidized by a public assistance program, the value of those services will not be included in the child support calculation as an Adjustment. Only the amount of childcare expenses actually paid by the parent will be included in the child support calculation as an Adjustment to the Basic Child Support Obligation. As mentioned above, a Work Related Child Care expense is normally included in the Child Support Worksheet, but Georgia law does allow a variable childcare expense to be handled outside of the worksheet by each parent paying a pro-rata percentage.
Health Insurance Premium Adjustment
The Basic Child Support Obligation is often impacted by either parent paying Health Insurance Premiums for the minor child(ren). The parent paying Health Insurance Premiums will receive credit in the Child Support Worksheet for the yearly amount paid for the child(ren)'s health insurance. Similar to the Work Related Child Care expense Adjustment, only the amount the parent actually pays will be considered in the Basic Child Support Obligation. If the health plan which covers the child(ren) covers multiple individuals or family members, only the portion actually attributable to the child(ren)'s insurance expense will be included in the child support calculation.