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 ).
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:
|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|
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.
Contact a qualified attorney.