Georgia Child Support Guidelines

Child support is assistance (usually financial), which is owed by parents to and for the benefit of a child. The state of Georgia requires parents to provide adequate support for their minor children. A parent can't waive a child's right to receive child support.

How to Begin the Child Support Process

Either parent can begin the application process for Child Support Services by contacting the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services. A parent can apply for Child Support Services online or in person at a local child support office.

Who Can Collect Child Support?

Any custodial parent (person having the child more than half the time) or caretaker of a child can collect regular child support from a parent who should contribute. Once you complete the application process, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services will assist you with obtaining initial child support payments, or in the collection of back payments (called arrearages ).

Another way to start the child support process is by hiring a family law attorney or contacting your local legal aid provider. This generally involves a private lawsuit against the other parent.

What Guidelines will the Judge Follow to Determine Child Support?

Georgia uses an "income-sharing" approach to determine the amount of support. Basically, the amount each parent will have to pay in child support will be based upon both the mother and father’s joint incomes, minus any deductions.

What Does a Court Consider "Income?"

The Court uses a complicated mathematical guideline to determine how much support the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent. First, a judge will determine the gross annual income of both parents and runs the numbers through a support calculator.

This is only a guideline and every case is unique and different. A Georgia court can look at salary, interest, trust income, tips, commission, and other sources to determine a parent's income. You have to pay child support even if you receive unemployment benefits, disability benefits, Social Security payments, or worker's compensation payments.

Deviating from Georgia's Child Support Guidelines

The Guidelines are just that: guidelines. A court may increase or decrease the child support order depending on the individual circumstances of both parents and the best interests of the child. Factors the court looks at include:

  • High Income of the Parents (Combined Income is $30,000 Per Month)
  • Low Income of the Non-Custodial Parent (Earning $1,850 Per Month or Less)
  • Health related insurance;
  • Life Insurance (One Parent is Insured and the policy names the child as beneficiary)
  • Child and dependent care tax credit;
  • Travel expenses;
  • Alimony;
  • Mortgage;
  • Permanency plan or foster care plan;
  • Extraordinary expenses such as medical conditions or education expenses;
  • Actual Parenting time.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Georgia's Child Support laws. See also Child Custody, Child Support Modifications, and Child Support Enforcement.

Code Section O.C.G.A. §19-6-15, et seq
Responsible Parties Both parents
How Support is Calculated Georgia state guidelines called "Income Shares Model"
Factors Courts uses both parents gross annual income
What is Included in a Support Order Monetary support (food, clothing, & shelter), health insurance, basic education expenses. Also might include child care expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, visitation travel costs, and extracurricular activities.
How Long a Parent Must Pay Child Support Until the child reaches the age of 18 (or 20 if he or she has not graduated high school), dies, marries, or is emancipated.
Local Child Support Offices

Child Support Office Locator

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Georgia Child Support Claim

Because Georgia's child support laws can sometimes get complicated, it's often a good idea to consult with an experienced Georgia family law attorney if you have questions about your specific situation. Get a head start today by having a local family law attorney evaluate your child support claim for free.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.