In Georgia, both parents are responsible for supporting their child. Even in cases where the parties have an equal time parenting plan or a split parenting plan with equal numbers of children in each parent's custody, one party will still be designated as the custodial parent and child support will be calculated for the non-custodial parent, although there may be adjustments which reduce or eliminate an actual periodic obligation. Those types of cases present more complexities than are present in a more typical parenting time schedule. When one parent maintains primary custodial custody, the other parent must pay periodic child support unless some other provisions are being made to justify deviation from the norm.
Child support determinations begin with domestic relations financial affidavits and any other relevant financial information regarding the parents and the children.
The child support calculations are based on a variety of factors including: gross income of each parent, child care expenses, accident and sickness insurance for the children, other children's insurance (such as vision or dental), and extraordinary needs, if any, of the children.
Determining gross income for a parent who holds a position as an employee is as easy as looking as pay stubs, W-2's or tax returns. Where there are businesses being operated, either full-time or part-time, there are more complicated issues. A process similar to completing a Schedule C for a tax return must be done.
Gross income can also be affected by the obligation of a parent to support other children (but not stepchildren) of the parent, whether those children are in his or her household or not. Under certain circumstances, this will cause a downward adjustment in monthly gross income.
A judge may deviate from child support guidelines in certain situations involving a number of specified and unspecified factors, but any such deviation has to be justified by the judge in written findings. Parties who agree to deviate from the child support guidelines must present reasons for the judge to approve the deviation. The judge's primary responsibility is to ensure the children of the parties will be adequately supported either by a traditional transfer of funds from one parent to the other or through some other means, such as payment of a mortgage in the home where the children reside.
Whether establishing child support, defending against enforcement, or seeking a modification of child support, we are experienced in focusing on these details to ensure that the appropriate aspects of the law are brought to the judge's attention when the obligation is set or sought to be modified or enforced.
At NMS Law Firm in northeast Georgia, we value the best interest of your children. Do you have questions or concerns regarding child support or child custody? Contact us today for a free consultation.