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The Mortgage deviation is a non-mandatory or discretionary deviation that may be sought by a non-custodial parent in Georgia in order to reduce his or her final child support obligation. According to the Official Code of Georgia, this deviation may only be taken advantage of under the following circumstances:
“If the noncustodial parent is providing shelter, such as paying the mortgage of the home, or has provided a home at no cost to the custodial parent in which the child resides, the court or the jury may allocate such costs or an amount equivalent to such costs by deviation from the presumptive amount of child support, taking into consideration the circumstances of the respective parents and the best interest of the child.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(i)(2)(H).
Essentially, this deviation allows a non-custodial parent who pays for the residence where the minor child and the custodial parent reside, that parent may reduce his or her final child support obligation. Depending on the circumstances of the specific matter, the non-custodial parent may seek a deviation amounting to the total cost of the mortgage paid, or only seek a deviation of a portion of the amount paid. The below example and depiction of a sample Georgia Child Support Worksheet illustrate how this deviation may be utilized if approved by the court presiding over the divorce or other child support related matter.
Mother is non-custodial parent. Father is custodial parent. As a part of the divorce settlement, Father was awarded possession of the marital residence. The mortgage on the residence is $750 per month. Additionally, as a part of the divorce settlement agreement, Mother agrees to pay the mortgage on the marital home in lieu of paying that portion of child support. To reflect the agreement, Mother utilizes the Mortgage deviation. Prior to the deviation, Mother’s presumptive child support obligation is $1,227. The application of the deviation reduces Mother’s child support obligation to $476 per month.
In completing Georgia’s Child Support Worksheet, it is extremely important to compete it as accurately as possible to ensure that the final child support amount is sufficient to serve the best interest of the child involved while also ensuring that the final amount is fair considering the incomes of both parents involved. For more information regarding how to complete a child support worksheet, see our article on this topic. For answers to more detailed or complex child support questions specific to your matter, contact our Georgia child support attorneys for a consultation via telephone or in person.