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6 factors that affect your child support payments in Georgia


There are both basic and extraordinary factors that could affect the amount of child support payments one parent in Georgia makes to another.

In Georgia, state law mandates that both parents are financially responsible for the wellbeing of the child. What that actually looks like for each family differs. Whether establishing child support or attempting to make a modification, there are several factors that come into play. Knowing what those factors are, such as the following six items, helps parents prepare and understand their rights:

1. Each parent’s income

Under the law, Georgia calculates a child support payment based on each parent’s gross monthly income. Certain items may be deducted from those income totals, such as any preexisting orders for child support.

2. Number of children

Another major factor that determines the amount of a child support payment is how many children are in the family. Obviously, the more children there are, the more money one parent may have to give another.

3. Parenting time

The third major factor that comes into play for child support is how much time each parent spends with the child. Typically, the non-custodial parent makes payments to the custodial parent. The custodial parent is the one who has the child more than half the time. When parenting time is equal, the determination for who pays whom boils down to who has the higher income.

4. The basic obligation

Georgia’s child support formula is based on the Basic Child Support Obligation Schedule. This chart uses the first two factors noted above to determine the basic amount of necessary to support a child or children.

Say the parents’ combined gross monthly income is $10,000, with the non-custodial parent making $6,000 and the custodial parent making $4,000. The non-custodial parent would be responsible for paying 60 percent of the basic support obligation outlined in the chart.

5. Health insurance and child care

While there is a basic obligation in place, that figure could be adjusted based on factors such as health insurance and child care. These numbers will be added to the basic obligation and then divided based on the formula.

6. A substantial change

Once a child support payment is in place, it takes a substantial change in either parent’s situation or the child’s circumstances to modify it. For example, becoming disabled and therefore unable to earn a living could change a parent’s ability to make payments.

Of course, the courts have the ability to make changes to the formula to account for special needs or extenuating circumstances. For example, a child that has medical expenses or extraordinary needs for education may require more money for support.

Every child support case in Georgia looks different. People who have questions about the process should consult with a family law attorney.