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How Is Child Support Calculated in Georgia


How income is calculated for child support will directly influence the financial well-being and future stability of the children involved. Georgia’s legal framework, as outlined in the Georgia Code Section 19-6-15, provides a structured approach to ensuring that children maintain their standard of living through adequate financial support from both parents. For help understanding how child support could impact your finances, consider working with a financial advisor.

How Child Support Works in Georgia

In Georgia, the framework for child support is primarily governed by the Georgia Code Section 19-6-15, which breaks down the responsibilities and procedures for determining the appropriate amount of support.

This legal structure is further supported by federal guidelines, particularly those established by the Office of Child Support Enforcement under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These guidelines serve to set minimum standards and procedures nationwide, ensuring a level of uniformity and fairness in the handling of child support cases across different states, including Georgia.

The process for establishing child support in Georgia begins when one parent files a petition for child support with their local family court. This initial step sets the legal proceedings in motion. The petitioner is required to provide comprehensive documentation, which typically includes financial affidavits, proof of income and detailed information regarding the child’s expenses.

The typical timeline for establishing a child support order can vary, but once issued, it remains in effect until the child reaches the age of majority or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.

Calculating Income for Child Support in Georgia

A couple signing paperwork for child support in Georgia.

The income considered for the calculation of child support in Georgia can include:

  • Wages
  • Salaries
  • Bonuses
  • Dividends
  • Rental income
  • Self-employment earnings

Additionally, other sources like recurring gifts, prizes and even certain types of financial gains that might not traditionally be considered income can be factored into the equation.

Potential Adjustments for Child Support Calculations

Adjustments to child support calculations are intended to reflect the child’s needs and the parents’ ability to contribute financially.

One common area where adjustments can be necessary involves additional costs that are not typically covered by basic child support payments, such as healthcare and educational expenses. The impact of these adjustments on the total amount of child support can be substantial. For example, the cost of health insurance or unexpected medical expenses can significantly increase the amount that one parent must pay.

When Courts Might Deviate From Regular Child Support Guidelines

Child support guidelines can sometimes fall short of addressing the unique circumstances of each family. In such cases, courts may find it necessary to deviate from these standard guidelines. Deviations are typically influenced by factors like extraordinarily high or low parental income, which could skew the standard formula’s applicability or fairness.

Alterations to the standard guideline calculations can lead to child support payments that are either significantly higher or lower than what would typically be expected. These deviations could cause an adjustment up to around 15% of the owed child support, depending on the situation.

Bottom Line

Grandparents researching requirement for the child support of their granddaughter.

In Georgia, the child support system helps to ensure the financial well-being and stability of children whose parents are no longer together. The process involves a detailed assessment of parental income and child needs, and also allows for adjustments to address extraordinary medical or educational expenses. While the guidelines generally provide a consistent framework, courts may deviate from these standards to better reflect the realities of individual cases.

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