The Georgia child support laws are pretty straightforward as outlined in this guide. Child support is considered financial support for a child by the non-custodial parent. The state of Georgia, the same as all other states, considers child support to be a crucial obligation by the non-custodial parent; therefore, there is no getting out of making these payments.
Even if you are living on disability, Social Security, unemployment, or workers’ compensation payments, you are still obligated to pay child support in the state of Georgia.
Georgia Child Support Laws – How Is the Amount Determined?
The courts maintain that all non-custodial parents have a financial obligation to their minor children and they have a rather complex method to determine the amount that must be paid. First, they take the income of both parents into consideration, which can include tips, trust income, commissions, etc. After the gross amount is determined, certain things such as taxes, insurance, and any other deductions are subtracted.
When the state determines the amount owed by the non-custodial parent, it is this net amount that is considered. However, other things are taken into consideration because each case is different and unique. The state essentially runs the numbers through a child support calculator to get the amount that will be paid as child support, which is detailed on the Child Support Commission website at https://georgiacourts.gov/csc. In fact, many other details about child support in Georgia can be found at this website so it is a good idea to review it if you are in this situation.
GA Child Support Laws – Initiating the Payments
In the state of Georgia, either parent can initiate the process of collecting child support payments for the custodial parent. They can do this in numerous ways, including visiting the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services online, in person, or through a family law attorney or a legal aid lawyer.
Keep in mind, however, that the guidelines for determining the amount of child support to be paid are just that — guidelines. This means that numerous things are considered when the state determines the dollar amount that the non-custodial parent has to pay. These include:
- Health and life insurance
- Travel expenses
- Child and dependent care tax credit
- Actual parenting time
- Permanency/foster care plan
- Any extraordinary expenses, such as education expenses or medical conditions
- High or low income, i.e., above $30,000 per month or below $1850 per month
Although the state expects financial support to be provided by the non-custodial parent, they also realize that there are often special circumstances that can affect the amount of child support that is appropriate, which is why they consider each case on an individual basis.
Georgia State Child Support Law – The Basics of the Child Support Commitment
As already mentioned, the state of Georgia uses both parents’ gross annual income as a starting point when determining the amount that must be paid to the custodial parent. This money is expected to be used for food, shelter, clothing, health insurance, and basic education expenses. It can also be used for childcare expenses, extraordinary medical conditions, extracurricular activities, and the costs associated with visitation travel.
In addition, the child support payments must be made each month until the child reaches the age of 18 or the age of 20 if he or she has not yet graduated from high school. Child support payments can be complex to understand, which is why the state of Georgia has different offices throughout the state that can help answer your questions. You can find out where the closest office is to you by calling 844-694-2347 or by visiting them online at https://childsupport.georgia.gov/locations.
If you’re curious about the amount of child support that you may be required to pay, you can visit the Child Support Commission website and get access to an online calculator that can help you estimate what this number might be. More information can be found at https://csconlinecalc.georgiacourts.gov/frontend/web/index.php.
When Things Don’t Go as Planned
If you live in Georgia and you’re having problems collecting child support payments from a non-custodial parent, the good news is that you have a lot of options available to you. The state’s Division of Child Support Services will assist you in getting the financial support that you need and deserve, whether it’s your very first time applying for the payments or your child’s other parent is behind on making payments to you. And if your income is limited, you can find a child support attorney through legal aid, which is described in more detail at https://www.lsc.gov/what-legal-aid/find-legal-aid.
Of course, there are times when couples agree to share custody of the child. Because this situation isn’t specifically addressed in the statutes, the courts will use a method to determine which parent is the non-custodial parent and which is the custodial parent. The amount of child support designated for the non-custodial parent will be reduced if a shared custody arrangement is in effect. Once again, the courts will use general guidelines and a personalized approach to the situation so that a fair decision can be made in the end.
All of these guidelines can and do apply to legal guardians of the child in situations where this applies. If you would like assistance in filling out the initial paperwork when you’re applying to receive child support payments, the state has resources that include toll-free phone numbers and websites that you can visit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The state of Georgia considers it imperative that all minor children receive the financial support they need to grow and thrive and they do everything possible to make sure that this happens.
No custodial parent should have to worry about whether he or she can afford to provide his or her children with the things they need to be healthy and happy because this is what child support payments are there for. If your child’s non-custodial parent is less than supportive of your decision to get the financial support you need, the state has numerous resources available to you. If this is not the case, you can get all of the information you need about child support in Georgia by contacting the Division of Child Support Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.