Child Support Laws for Married Couples in the State of Georgia

By Heather Frances J.D.

Georgia parents are legally obligated to contribute financially to their child’s care, and married parents typically contribute without a court order. However, when parents divorce, courts generally enter divorce decrees that order one parent to pay a specific amount of child support to the other parent so children of the marriage continue to be provided for.

Georgia parents are legally obligated to contribute financially to their child’s care, and married parents typically contribute without a court order. However, when parents divorce, courts generally enter divorce decrees that order one parent to pay a specific amount of child support to the other parent so children of the marriage continue to be provided for.

Income Shares Model

In Georgia, child support is the noncustodial parent’s contribution to the expenses necessary for raising a child, paid to the custodial parent. Georgia uses the Income Shares Model of child support to determine the amount of support the noncustodial parent should pay. This model bases child support on the idea that parents should contribute the same proportion of their income toward their child’s upbringing as they would have provided had they remained married. This affords the child a similar standard of living after his parents divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Calculating Support

Georgia courts begin child support calculations by determining the gross income of both parents, which is income from any source, including overtime, bonuses, tips and retirement benefits. Next, the court deducts certain expenses, such as half of a parent’s self-employment tax, to create the adjusted gross income amount. Then the court determines the percentage of income each parent contributes to the total. The court applies that proportion to the basic level of support the state determines appropriate for a child to determine how much the noncustodial parent should pay. For example, if a noncustodial parent makes 60 percent of the combined adjusted gross income, a Georgia court may order him to pay 60 percent of the basic support obligation for the child. But the court can adjust this amount by considering the total number of children the noncustodial parent supports, health insurance costs, work-related child care and parenting time.

Enforcement

If a noncustodial parent fails to pay child support as ordered, Georgia’s Division of Child Support Services can help the custodial parent collect the unpaid support. DCSS helps children receive their financial support and also helps promote noncustodial parental involvement in children’s lives. Any parent can apply for DCSS services; parents who do not receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families must pay an application fee before receiving services. DCSS uses various methods to enforce child support orders, including withholding child support from paychecks and unemployment benefits, suspending the noncustodial parent’s driver’s license and filing contempt of court actions.

Modification

Court-ordered child support amounts may not be appropriate if a family’s circumstances change, so Georgia courts can modify child support when a parent shows there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last court order. For example, if the noncustodial parent becomes disabled and unable to work, the court may modify his child support amount accordingly. Similarly, if the noncustodial parent receives a promotion that significantly increases his pay, the court could require him to pay more. To modify support, either parent must file a modification petition with the appropriate court, typically the court that issued the last support order.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Wyoming Child Support Laws

References

Related articles

Laws About Child Support and Visitation in the State of Minnesota

In Minnesota, the court presumes that it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with both of her parents and receive the same amount of financial support she received before her parents divorced. So long as your child spends at least 10 percent of her time with you, courts in Minnesota may lower your child support obligation.

Massachusetts' Child Support Laws

As in other states, Massachusetts parents must provide financial support for their children, even if the parents are not married. When parents divorce, their divorce court sets a child support amount that the non-custodial parent must pay toward his child's care. In Massachusetts, child support amounts are set by court guidelines and are enforceable by state law.

Child Support Laws in Georgia

Georgia's Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services, is responsible for enforcing the state's child support laws; this includes establishing paternity -- if a child's parents aren't married -- collecting child support payments, distributing child support payments and beginning administrative procedures when a non-custodial parent fails to make timely payments according to the terms of the child support order.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Florida Child Support Regulations

Each state has different rules when it comes to child support, but Florida allocates the support amount between ...

What Percent of Income Does CT Take Out in Child Support for the Noncustodial Parent?

Parents have the duty to support their children financially, both before and after divorce, so Connecticut law aims to ...

Amount of Child Support in Mississippi

Parents who are getting divorced in Mississippi must estimate how much child support they will pay or receive during ...

How Does Louisiana's Child Support System Work?

When parents divorce, children may suffer financially from the decreased household income level. Child support orders ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED