In Georgia, parents are legally required to assist, at least, in providing financial support to their children, and no parent can legally waive his or her child support requirements. The amount of financial child support required of a parent, will, of course, vary from case-to-case, depending on many factors, mainly the financial situations of the parents. Also, while the process of applying for child support may be initiated by either of the parents, in order to qualify to receive support, applicants must be a custodial parent taking care of a child over half the time.
The “income-sharing” model, which is now used in Georgia, considers the relative incomes of the mother and father, to establish the monthly payment obligation of the parent who does not have custody. Furthermore, courts will look at all forms of income – not necessarily just what is listed on a parent’s “pay stub”. In addition to those, more formal, forms of income, Georgia judges will consider other income, including unemployment benefits, social security payments, workers’ compensation, disability, tips, etc. In addition to those income considerations, though, a Georgia court determining child support will review the parents’ assets, health insurance costs for the children, work-related childcare costs, and other expenses when correctly determining either parent’s child support responsibility.
A Georgia court will use a “child support worksheet”, to conduct a detailed mathematical analysis, in order to determine the respective child support obligations of the parties. By using the child support worksheet, a Georgia judge will determine – based on the parents’ incomes and expenses – how much child support either parent is responsible for. In order to complete a child support worksheet, the parent completing it must provide his or her own financial documents, which give figures reflecting his or her income, assets, child-related health insurance costs, work-related childcare costs, and other payment obligations, such as alimony or child support for other children.
While use of the child support worksheet will yield a preliminary child support amount, judges may still deviate from that amount, considering – above all – the best interests of child, or children. In addition to the best interests, though, Georgia courts will also consider factors such as unusual health care or education expenses of a child, whether one parent has an unusually low income, and whether the non-custodial parent will incur unusually high expenses in order to visit the child.
So, the process of seeking child support, as well as the process for determining what the child support amount should be, can be complex, involving many factors, documents, and steps. We, here at the Berelc Law Office are experienced at representing both custodial parents, as well as non-custodial parents, in custody proceedings after a divorce has occurred. Although the official calculations have helped to streamline the process, having an experienced attorney on your side, whether you’re the custodial or non-custodial parent, is crucial to protect your and your children’s interest.
If you or a loved one are facing a divorce or in need of assistance in a child support or child custody decision, you need the help of an experienced Georgia family law attorney to guide you through the process. The experienced family law attorneys at Berelc Law Office, P.C. can assist you. Call us at (706) 356-0518.