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Child Support in GA

When dealing with the legal complexities of child support determination, modification and enforcement, having an experienced Georgia family lawyer on your side can make a tremendous difference in getting a favorable and fair result.

If you are involved in a child support case in the Columbus GA area, then call a seasoned child support lawyer today at 1-866-494-6908.

How does the court determine child support?

The parent that does not have custody of the children will generally have to pay child support to the parent that does. The custodial parent is expected to also contribute to the expenses incurred in raising the child, but either parent could be ordered to pay child support.

In order to help the court determine how much child support should be paid, you and your spouse will have to complete and file a Financial Affidavit. The calculations that determine the amount of child support payments change very quickly as laws are updated and appellate courts hear more cases. Your attorney will help you determine the proper amount of child support to pay based on the current law and your individual situation.

If you and your spouse can agree on child support, you could avoid a very expensive litigation process. Child support can be put into the final divorce decree or the Settlement Agreement, but the court could make a determination that the amount of child support you agreed to in inadequate and throw it out.
The court will also look at how much money each parent is capable of earning and what their other expenses are. The court may also look at the income of a new spouse if one of you have remarried.

Child support payments normally are made on a monthly basis, although the court may order separate payments to cover school tuition or other expenses. The child support the custodial parent receives should be used to feed, clothe, and house the children.

Are there standard guidelines for child support in Georgia?

In Georgia, the law requires that the court award child support based upon a certain percentage of that parent’s gross income, minus any other child support that parent may be paying. The law has set ranges for child support based upon how many children there are. The ranges are:

Between 17 and 23 percent of the gross income for one child;
Between 23 and 28 percent of the gross income for two children;
Between 25 and 32 percent of the gross income for three children;
Between 29 and 35 percent of the gross income for four children; and
Between 31 and 27 percent for five or more children.

The judge has the option to deviate from these guidelines but if child support is ordered below the guidelines, the judge has put in writing why such little child support was ordered. These guidelines not only apply to divorces, but to paternity as well.

There’s an unexpected expense for my child, what do I do?

Usually the child support order will have specific instructions on how to handle this situation. If the situation is not addressed in the child support order, you and your spouse can either come to some agreement on how this expense will be paid, or petition the court and the judge will decide how this particular expense will be handled.

If you do come to an agreement with your spouse, this agreement should be put into writing and signed by both of you to avoid any problems in the future.

My child is visiting me. Do I still have to pay child support during the visit?

If your child is with you for an extended visit, the child support order may be written to reduce the amount of child support you have to pay during the time your child is visiting you. If the child support order does not do this, you may want to petition the court to have the child support order modified.

How does the court handle child support if my child needs special care?

Normally when the court is determining child support, it takes the health of your child into consideration. Because it is more expensive to care for a sickly child than a healthy one, the court will take your child’s special needs into account when determining child support.

Can I modify my child support order?

If you are the parent paying child support and you have a change in your situation, such as job loss, the court may alter the child support payments temporarily. For example, the court could order reduced child support payments until you gain employment.

If both you and your spouse agree to a change in child support, you should put it in writing and both of you should sign this agreement.

Can the court make me pay for my child’s college education?

Paying for college or providing money for your child’s education could be made part of the divorce agreement, but if that wasn’t the case, the court cannot force either parent to pay for their child’s college education.

The court ordered me to pay for health and life insurance on my child. Can it do that?

Yes. The court normally will order one of the parents to provide insurance for your child to make sure that your child is properly cared for. The judge can also order one or more of the parents to pay for a life insurance policy for themselves and make the child the beneficiary.

Can a portion of my ex-spouse’s paycheck that is supposed to be used for child support be taken out of their check by their employer to pay me?

Georgia law allows the court to order that a portion of your ex-spouses paycheck be paid to you in order to guarantee that the child support is paid.

Call an experienced Columbus Georgia child support lawyer if you need representation in a Georgia child support case.