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What is the Model For Calculating Child Support in Georgia? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mary Stearns-Montgomery   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 17:59

bigstock-Caucasian-father-helping-daugh-12841286The State of Georgia has specific guidelines to determine child support and until January 1, 2007, child support calculation was based solely upon the income of the non-custodial parent. When the law changed on January 1st, Georgia moved to an “income shares” model for calculating child support. The income shares model offers the perception of fairness, reflect actual expenditures on families, and complies with the new federal rules on health care. 

The current model for calculating child support in Georgia involves nine steps as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15:

1. Determine the monthly gross income of each parent.
2. Adjust each parent’s monthly gross income; consider one-half of the amount of self-employment taxes; preexisting orders and theoretical child support order for qualified children if allowed by the court.
3. The adjusted incomes of each parent is added to become the combined adjusted income.
4. The adjusted income amount is the key figure used to determine child support. Take this figure and compare it to the child support obligation table. The basic child support obligation is based on the income bracket most closely matched to the combined adjusted income.
5. After the basic child support obligation is determined, each parent’s pro rata share of child support is calculated by dividing the combined adjusted income into each parent’s adjusted income to arrive at each parent’s pro rata percentage of the basic child support obligation.
6. Additional expenses such as the cost of health insurance and work-related child care are calculated for each parent according to the pro rata share of child support.
7. The presumptive child support amount is determined by assigning or deducting a credit for actual payments for health insurance and work-related child care costs.
8. Deviations are subtracted from or increased to the presumptive amount. Deviations include, but are not limited to, the following: high income, low income, health related insurance, child and dependent care tax credit, travel expenses, alimony, mortgage, permanency plan or foster care plan, extraordinary expenses, parenting time and nonspecific deviations.
9. Finally, the child support order will be the presumptive amount of child support as   determined by deviations and any benefits the child receives under Title II of the federal Social Security Act are applied against the final child support order.


The Georgia Child Support Commission has released an electronic version of the Georgia Child Support Calculator to properly address the nine steps and accurately calculate the total amount of child support.

It can be confusing and intimidating to do all the number crunching, but we can help. The family law attorneys of Stearns-Montgomery and Proctor are thoroughly trained in implementing this new law and are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. For additional information about Georgia’s new child support guidelines and how these guidelines can affect your family, please call us today at (678) 905-8492 or complete a contact form.

Custody Issues | Parent Unable to Pay Child Support PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mary Stearns-Montgomery   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 13:24

Issues of custody are always difficult, both for the parents and the children involved.  What can make these disputes even more stressful is when the non-custodial parent cannot afford to make child support payments.  In these tough economic times, an increasing number of parents fall into the “unable to pay” category, as opposed to willfully denying to make their scheduled payments.  Failing to make child support payments on time can lead to charges of contempt, which in turn can lead to jail time.  It often falls on the non-custodial parent’s shoulders to prove he or she is not unwilling to pay, but rather unable.

What to do if you are unable to pay child support

If you know that you will not be able to afford the child support that was initially determined in the custody proceedings, you should immediately contact an attorney and file a formal motion requesting modification due to changed circumstances.  It is essential to have this motion modified through the court, as non-binding verbal agreements will not hold up if you are later charged with failure to pay.

If the custodial parent has already filed for a contempt proceeding, there is still opportunity to prove to the judge that the failure to pay was not a willful act.  It is important to note that being unable to pay as the result of voluntarily leaving a job will oftentimes be considered willful.  Even if the court does determine that your case was due to an inability to pay, that does not alleviate the responsibility to eventually make necessary payments.  Unless the child support agreement is modified, the custodial parent is still owed the deemed amount.  The court will determine how these payments shall be made.

Issues of child support in Georgia are complex and difficult to navigate without the assistance of a practiced attorney.  The lawyers at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor will make certain your rights are recognized.

Georgia Child Support & Child Custody 101 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mary Stearns-Montgomery   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 10:37

Knowing all the ins and outs of Georgia child support and custody laws is difficult to remember during an emotional time like divorce. To help, we have put together a short list of important child custody and child support facts to keep in mind during and after divorce.

Child Custody

  • The judge has final decision over how child custody is awarded. (If a child is over the age of 14 he/she may select which parent they would like the live with.)
  • Factors that help determine child custody include:
    • Each parents ability to be a suitable custodian
    • Safety of the child
    • Psychological, emotional and developmental needs of the child
    • Prior care each parent has given to the child
    • History of substance abuse
  • There are four types of child custody: joint custody, joint legal custody, joint physical custody, and sole custody (You should further discuss each type with your attorney) 

Child Support

  • Georgia uses a child support obligation table to determine child support awarded 
  • Both parents are legally required to support their child until the age of 18 
  • Child support may be modified if there have been significant financial changes since the child support was issued. (Discuss this option with your divorce attorney as every case is different) 
  • If you are not receiving child support payments from your ex you have a right to file a Motion for Contempt against the offending party to rectify the situation.  

If you are going through a child custody/child support hearing it is important to speak to your family law attorney to figure out the best outcome for your case and to fully understand your rights.