HomeChild SupportUnderstanding Child Support Obligations After a Divorce in Georgia
Posted in Child Support on 17th February 2012

Understanding Child Support Obligations After a Divorce in Georgia

Article by Jeff Dublin

Providing financial support for a child after a divorce is a critical concern for both parties. The child is entitled to adequate support from both parents and it is often left to the courts to determine what amount is fair and reasonable. Each state has its own set of divorce law which may or may not be the same as other states. In 2007 a new child support law took effect in the state of Georgia. There are several components in this new law and it’s important that parents consult with a good lawyer, such as an Atlanta divorce attorney, to help them understand the new requirements.

The new Georgia child support law uses income modeling and requires the gross income of both parents. It is first important to understand what constitutes gross income under the state’s divorce law. Gross income means employment income and includes income from salary, bonuses, commissions, overtime, severance, and money earned through self employment. It also includes income from pensions, capital gains, trust income, and income from dividend and interest. Even occasional income is included such as lottery winnings, gifts, and prizes. A person should expect every kind of income to be included and should consult with an Atlanta divorce attorney if unsure whether certain funds are covered.

Once the monthly gross income for each party in the divorce is determined they are added together. This amount is called the combined adjusted income amount and it will be used with the state’s Child Support Obligation Table to determine the basic support obligation. According to the state’s divorce law, this support obligation will be applied to each parent’s proportional share of the adjusted income. This is what the non-custodial parent will pay.

For example, if the father’s income is 60% of the combined adjusted income amount and he is the non-custodial parent, then the father is obligated to provide 60% of the basic support. If in the same situation the mother is the non-custodial parent then she is obligated to pay 40% of the basic support. This can get complicated so each side should have their own lawyer, such as an Atlanta divorce attorney to ensure all incomes are reported and the support obligation is fairly split between the two parents.

There are other factors that can adjust the support amount. For example, if the father is the non-custodial parent, but he continues to pay for the child’s medical insurance after the divorce, then he will get a credit applied for the amount of the expense. Also per the divorce law the amount of support can be modified by deviations that provide for the child’s best interest. This can include extraordinary medical expenses or education expenses, or extracurricular expenses such as summer camp, provided the extra expense exceeds 7% of the basic support obligation. The new law also requires that each parent pays an agreed percentage of the child’s unpaid medical and dentalbills.

Determining the fair share of support for each of the parents can be complicated. Therefore it’s important to consult an Atlanta divorce attorney who is well versed on the law.

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