GeorgiaChild Support Laws
Georgia Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Georgia has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Georgia, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Georgia uses the "income share" method for calculating child support payments, which is designed to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their child's upkeep.
In the event of parents sharing custody of a child, the Georgia judge who sets child support may deviate from the basic child support formula to account for this. Other special situations accounted for under Georgia's child support law include childcare costs, extraordinary medical costs and college costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Georgia child support order.
How is Health Coverage Handled?If health insurance is available at a reasonable cost to the parent, then the court will order that the child be covered under the health insurance plan.
What Classifies for a Deviation of the Guidelines?Include written findings as to whether one or more of the deviations allowed under this Code section are applicable, and if one or more such deviations are applicable, as determined by the court or the jury, the proven written findings can further set forth:
- The reasons the court/jury deviated from the amount of child support
- The amount of child support that would have been required if the presumptive amount of child support had not been rebutted
- A finding that states how the court's or the jury's application of the child support guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate considering the relative ability of each parent to provide support and how the best interest of the child who is subject to the child support determination is served by deviation from the presumptive amount of child support
- Specify the amount of the noncustodial parent's parenting time as set forth in the order of visitation
- Include a written finding regarding the use of benefits received under Title II of the federal Social Security Act in the calculation of the amount of child support
- Specify the percentage of uninsured health care expenses for which each parent shall be responsible.
Gross income of each parent shall be determined in the process of setting the presumptive amount of child support and shall include all income from any source, before deductions for taxes and other deductions such as preexisting orders for child support and credits for other qualified children, whether earned or unearned, and includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Commissions, fees, and tips
- Income from self-employment
- Overtime payments
- Severance pay
- Recurring income from pensions or retirement plans including, but not limited to, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Keoghs, and individual retirement accounts
- Interest income
- Dividend income
- Trust income
- Income from annuities
- Capital gains
- Disability or retirement benefits that are received from the Social Security Administration pursuant to Title II of the federal Social Security Act
- Workers' compensation benefits, whether temporary or permanent
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Judgments recovered for personal injuries and awards from other civil actions
- Gifts that consist of cash or other liquid instruments, or which can be converted to cash
- Lottery winnings
- maintenance received from persons other than parties to the proceeding before the court
- Assets which are used for the support of the family
- Other income
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Georgia family court through a child support order. In Georgia, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Georgia Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Georgia?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Georgia?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Georgia?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Georgia?
- How is child support enforced in Georgia?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Georgia?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Georgia?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Georgia law allows the judge overseeing the child support order to use a shared custody agreement as justification for a variation from the state's general child support calculations. This means that if the non-custodial parent shares parenting time with the custodial parent, the judge might reduce the amount of child support owed to account for the resources spent by the non-custodial parent during their time with the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Georgia?
Georgia has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
Georgia treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Georgia?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Georgia has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Georgia treats child care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Georgia?
Georgia state law does allow courts to order the non-custodial parent to contribute to their child's college education upon graduating high school. Whether post-secondary education support is ordered, and the amount that may be ordered, varies depending on the situation.
How is child support enforced in Georgia?
In the state of Georgia, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Georgia welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Georgia?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Georgia tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.