In the State of Georgia, parents are required by law to financially provide for the support of their underage children. Support is required until age 18, unless the child or children are still attending high school in which case support is required up to age 20. Additionally, the parties in a divorce case can even agree to provide support for a child past the age of 20.
Georgia has adopted a “shared income” model for determining child support. This means that the Court will take in to consideration the gross (before tax) income of both parties, as well as the expenses that both parties are incurring regularly on behalf of the children. These expenses include, but are not limited to, monthly costs of day care, after school care, summer camps, extracurricular activities, educational expenses including tuition, books, tutoring, etc., health care premiums, life insurance premiums, extraordinary health care needs, etc.
If you have another child from another relationship, the Court will also take into consideration court ordered support obligations for that child. Similarly, if you have another child living with you who lives with you, whom you are supporting, called a Qualified Child under the child support guidelines, the Court may also take your support obligations for that child into consideration.
The Court is required by law to consider gross (before tax) income from all sources including wages, tips, bonuses, workman’s compensation, lottery winnings, investment income, interest, divididents and any other income. If you or your spouse are not working at the time of the Divorce, the Court may also impute or add income to your or your spouse for what the Court believes that the evidence shows you have the ability to earn.
Child support is required regardless of whether or not the paying party has the ability to pay, and regardless of whether or not the party receiving the child support needs the support. Child Support belongs to the child or children at issue in the case, and by law child support obligations cannot be bankrupted out by the paying party.
The Georgia Child Support Commission provides child support calculators to aid parties in determining child support, however, most people will find that the assistance of an attorney will be necessary to insure that child support is being properly calculated.