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Case Law Update: Williamson v. Williamson, S13A0953, Ga (2013)

I’m the Custodial Parent, so Why Should I Have to Pay Child Support?

We all know that the custodial parent always receives child support, right?  Not according to the recently decided Georgia Supreme Court case of Williamson v. Williamson, S13A0953, (Oct. 7, 2013 Ga.) which reaffirmed prior holdings that a court may order the custodial parent to pay for the support of a minor child.  The “custodial parent” is the parent with whom the child resides more than 50% of the time.  Typically, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.  In situations where child custody is joint (and the child spends an equal amount of time with each parent so it truly is a 50/50 split), then the custodial parent is the parent who makes less money (and thereby will receive child support from the parent who makes more money).

In Williamson, the Court explained that it is proper to order the custodial parent to pay child support to the non-custodial parent when the child’s best interests require that “money be provided the non-custodial parent to provide for a proper visitation.”  In that particular case, the father was the custodial parent (he had the child for 60% of the time), but made significantly more money than the mother made.  The Court held that the child support guidelines did not require the mother, as the non-custodial parent, to pay support to the father.  In fact, the Court held that the guidelines allowed the trial court to order the father, as the custodial parent, to pay the mother, as the non-custodial parent, child support in order to permit the child to maintain his standard of living while visiting with his mother.



Joann Brown Williams


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