Determining child support is a critical step in many divorce cases. Child support ensures the financial resources needed to provide for a child’s wellbeing.
It impacts the decisions made related to the child’s education, healthcare, and other important aspects of his or her development.
Each state must determine child support in a way that benefits the child while considering the financial needs and responsibilities of each parent.
The following will help you understand how child support is determined in Georgia so that you know what to expect when moving forward in the legal process.
Understanding Child Support
Child support is defined as any payments made to parents who have been granted custody by non-custodial parents.
Parents are obligated to provide the courts with information related to personal income along with the estimated costs related to schooling, childcare, health care, and other factors.
They must also outline all of the existing income sources to the courts. These include salaries, bonuses, inheritance, and rental properties.
Courts may assign a punitive income in order to prevent non-custodial parents from avoiding employment in order to not have to pay child support.
Determining Child Support
Georgia law has guidelines to calculate child support using the Income Shares Model, which estimates how much would be spent by the parents to care for a child regardless of divorce.
The courts then divide this amount in a way that’s proportional to the incomes of each parent. Georgia’s Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) helps custodial parents in obtaining and enforcing child support orders.
Parents can obtain payment calculators and worksheets from the Division of Child Support Services along with the guidelines related to child support.
But it’s a good idea to consult with a family law attorney in order to understand the guidelines and worksheets needed to achieve the outcome you’re after.
Parents must first determine who is the non-custodial parent. Parents who will care for the child over half of the time are typically considered as custodial.
In other cases, the financial calculations will help you determine who will serve as the non-custodial parent in relation to child support.
Parents who are self-employed are able to deduct business costs from their gross income. Your family law attorney helps you determine those deductions, as they can be limited when compared to those allowed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Pre-existing child support can be deducted as well as a portion of self-employment taxes. You’ll need to complete the appropriate worksheets in order to consider these and other factors.
In addition, childcare and health insurance are generally included in the basic support obligation. Having a full understanding of the guidelines and their allowances can help you obtain the required level of child support from a non-custodial parent.
A family law attorney can help non-custodial parents protect their financial wellbeing from unnecessary child support payments by guiding you through these guidelines and helping you understand your legal rights.
Enforcing Child Support
The Division of Child Support Services is a part of Georgia’s Department of Human Services and is responsible for helping you enforce your child support orders.
They assist individuals in locating absent non-custodial parents and ensure that all parties comply with the court orders.
In any case, the legal services and expertise of a family law attorney are essential to establishing and obtaining the support needed to care for your child. Issues related to non-payment or your attorney can address all insufficient support.
Child support allows you to continue to provide for the care and wellbeing of your child. By understanding how child support is determined, you’ll have the resources needed to protect you and your entire family.