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Georgia Law and Child Support
In Georgia, child support is determined by the use of a child support worksheet in which the burden of financial support is divided between both parents based on their gross incomes and this amount is reduced by any deviations, or contributions, paid by one or both parents, such as insurance and daycare.
Since 2007, the Georgia legislature made a determination that both the custodial parent and non-custodial parent should share the financial burdens of raising children and the burden is now divided between the parents. The document that itemizes this obligation is the child support worksheet. It is essential that you are proactive in this process as the state will merely look at your highest income as recorded through taxes or the Department of Labor and enter that amount regardless or the reality of this income or the contributions for which you are entitled to receive credit. The state created baseline amounts of child support based on incomes and the number of children for which support is being paid.
These numbers reflect what the state assumes to be the necessary financial needs of children in homes of each income bracket. The obligation will be divided as percentages based on the gross income of both parties. For example, if both parties make $5,000.00 per month the obligation stipulated by the state will be divided equally at 50%.
Both parties must verify and enter gross monthly income, which is often a point of contention especially if one or both of the parents are self employed or unemployed. Georgia statutes require an unemployed individual to enter minimum wage income as imputed income. The state demands the representation of minimal income. However, if an individual is under employed the court can impute an amount of child support reflective of past employment, experience and education. If both parties have stated income, or paychecks, the process is simplified; however, there are issues of bonuses, commissions, and various other credits to consider when determining a final amount of child support.
After gross monthly income is determined there are multiple credits or deviations to consider before a final amount of child support can be determined. The state allows the parties meeting obligations outside of simple child support to receive credits against the assumed amount of child support obligation. If one parent is paying for daycare for employment purposes then the other parties support obligation will be increased to meet this need.
If one parent is forced to travel substantial distances to in order to maintain a relationship with their child then they will be given a credit for this expense. These expenses vary depending on the needs and individual situations of the child and anything from insurance payments, extracurricular contributions, mortgage payments and extra educational expenses must be considered. There are a multitude of issues that must be proven when dealing with deviations and many parties neglect to consider all of the credits for which they are entitled when attempting to determine a final amount of child support.