Georgia Child Support Guidelines Attorneys
Child support is often one of the most contentious issues between married parents filing for divorce or unmarried parents pursuing parenting rights or paternity claims. Too often, the noncustodial parent thinks of child support as a form of alimony. On the other side, the custodial parent is often disappointed to learn that the child support obligation is determined by the child's needs, not the parent's.
Experience in Your County Court Jurisdiction
Georgia applies a specific formula for determining the amount of child support a noncustodial parent will be obligated to pay. The calculation includes the income and certain expenses of both parents. Determining what constitutes fair income to be plugged into the formula is often one of the key points in settlement negotiations. In addition, every county's child welfare authorities and family law specialists take a different perspective on state law. Getting the required financial information fair and correct for the specific jurisdiction requires an attorney with experience handling child custody and child support matters under the rules and expectations of the specific judge and court.
The attorneys at Kupferman & Golden, Attorneys at Law, have experience representing clients in child support matters in county courts throughout the Atlanta metro region, including Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, DeKalb County and Forsyth County, Georgia.
New Georgia Child Support Guidelines
Effective January 1, 2007, the trial courts began employing Georgia's new child support guidelines. The most significant change from the previous guidelines is that these new ones will consider both parents' incomes in determining an initial amount of child support to be pro-rated between the parents for the benefit of the minor child(ren). This differs greatly from the previous guidelines, which typically only applied a percentage range to the custodial parent's income; the noncustodial parent's income was not usually factored into the court's decision-making process. The new guidelines also apportion, between the parents, certain expenses such as health insurance, non-covered medical expenses and work-related child care costs. Unlike early legislative proposals, the new guidelines, themselves, do not create the catalyst or basis for a modification of a parent's child support obligation. Rather, he/she still must show a substantial change in either parent's income and financial status, or in the needs of the child(ren), as was required under the previous guidelines. However, as with most rules, there are some exceptions to this rule such as the amount of visitation that the noncustodial parent is exercising and an involuntary loss of income by one of the parties.
In addition, as with the previous child support guidelines, the new guidelines allow for deviations to the presumptive amount of child support to be awarded, based upon the unique facts in each case. Some specific types of deviations from the presumptive child support award that the court may consider in adjusting child support are as follows, to wit:
- High income: Parents are considered to earn high income, if their combined gross income exceeds $30,000 per month;
- Low income: A parent is considered to earn a low income if he/she earns at, or less than, $1,850 per month;
- Other health-related insurance: This would include vision or dental insurance being provided by one of the parents;
- Life insurance: If one or both of the parents have life insurance for the benefit of the child(ren), then this cost can be considered;
- Child and dependent care tax credit: If one parent is entitled to such a tax credit, then this tax savings can be considered or pro-rated between the parties;
- Travel expenses: If there is a substantial cost involved in exercising visitation, then actual expenses incurred by the noncustodial parent may be considered;
- Alimony: Actual payments of alimony are not deducted from gross income but may be considered as a deviation from the presumptive child support award;
- Mortgage: If the noncustodial parent is paying for a house/apartment for the custodial parent and child(ren), then this cost may be considered as a deviation from the presumptive child support award;
- Extraordinary expenses: Such expenses are in excess of the average amounts estimated in the Child Support Obligation Table and are highly variable among families, but would include educational expenses, medical expenses, summer camps, and other activities intended to enhance the athletic, social or cultural development of the child(ren); and
- Parenting time: The presumptive child support award is based on expenditures for children in an intact household but this award can be modified due to extended parenting time or when the child(ren) live with both parents equally.
Get Straight Answers About Your Specific Circumstances
These deviations are not required to be applied in each case, but can be considered by the parties or the court in arriving at a child support figure. Additionally, the new guidelines include a "non-specific deviation." This provision permits a deviation from the presumptive award of child support for reasons not previously listed but which are in the best interests of the minor child(ren).
If you have questions, it makes sense to get clear, honest answers from an attorney with experience handling child support issues in your jurisdiction. Kupferman & Golden offers a free consultation to discuss your circumstances. The firm's lawyers can also help you with your child support modification needs.
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From offices in Atlanta, Kupferman & Golden, Attorneys at Law, advises and represents clients in communities throughout Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, and Forsyth County, Georgia. Contact their offices to arrange a free consultation with one of the firm's experienced Atlanta child support attorneys today.