Child Support

Child support is focused on ensuring the children’s wellbeing is prioritized.

Bloom Lines Alexander can help you through the Child Support process.

If you’re finding yourself reading this page, you may be facing the uncertainty of your financial future, and how much child support you can expect to receive for your children, or you may be wondering how much child support you may have to pay, and how you are going to be able to afford it. Fortunately, our attorneys have countless years of experiencing in successfully settling and litigating child support cases in Georgia.

Georgia, generally, uses an “income shares” model to determine a parent’s child support obligation. That means that both parents’ gross annual incomes are considered when completing a child support worksheet. Naturally, that includes income received not only from employment, but investments, businesses, rental properties, etc. These figures are then put into a worksheet, along with other figures addressed below, and the worksheet will then determine the appropriate amount of monthly child support to be paid. If you’re curious,you can find the online child support worksheet here: https://services.georgia.gov/dhr/cspp/do/public/SupportCalc

If you did take a look at the worksheet at the link above, it likely didn’t take long to become overwhelmed. That is because the worksheet—and therefore what the court can consider—can include far more than just gross income. The worksheet can also include work-related child care expenses, extraordinary educational expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, and a wide range of other “deviations” allowing for the court to impose a monthly child support obligation other than what the worksheet calls for.

The complicated nature of child support in Georgia is truly just one of the many reasons you should consults an attorney at Bloom Lines Alexander when you’re faced with a child support question. Even the simplest item of calculating each party’s income can spur months of overwhelming litigation. Let our team help you through this process, so that you can simply focus on your family, and allow our team to do the heavy lifting.

Completing the worksheet

The presumptive amount of child support, that is, the amount that the worksheet calculates should be paid, can be increased or decreased, but a good reason must be given to the court for the departure from the worksheet amount. There are multiple legal reasons why a deviation might be granted, so it is important to make sure the worksheet is properly filled in with accurate numbers for both income and child-related expenses.

Your Atlanta family law attorney can help

While the child support worksheet seems straightforward, it is extremely helpful to have an experienced family law attorney assist with the input for the calculator. The statutory process for calculating child support is extremely lengthy and can be complex depending on the needs of the child. 

It is vital to include everything that is allowed, as every entry on the worksheet changes the presumptive amount of child support.

Child support factors

In addition to the parents’ income and the children’s expenses, the amount of child support is also dependent upon the number of children who are being supported. Child support is paid for each child until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever last occurs. Of course, if a child has not graduated from high school because the child is no longer attending high school, the support is not due if the child is over 18. Child support is never required for a child over 20, even if the child is still attending high school.  It is also helpful to know that if you have three children, and the oldest graduates from high school and turns 18, the amount is not automatically reduced unless your court order says it is. The child support also does not reduce by one third.

Child support and custody

Many parents want to know if the amount of child support can be different than the amount the Georgia child support worksheet calculates if the children spend half of their time with each parent. The simple answer is yes, but there are many exceptions. If both parents earn similar incomes, then it is possible that neither parent will pay child support to the other if the children spend equal time with each parent. However, if one parent earns substantially more than the other parent, whether or how much the child support amount will be reduced because of shared parenting time is not easy to predict. The Georgia child support statute does not provide a formula for how to calculate child support when the children share time equally with the parents. The court is going to be primarily concerned that the children will be adequately supported in both homes when it determines how much child support will be paid, if any, when there is equal parenting time.

Child support modification

Child support can be modified for a number of reasons. Child support can be decreased if a family has more than one child and the oldest turns 18 and graduates from high school. This situation is best addressed in the original child support order, as that will save the time and expense of modifying the support amount later. Child support can also be decreased if a parent loses his or her job or increased if a parent gets a job that pays more or gets a substantial raise, and it can be decreased if a parent spends more time with the children than the parenting plan contemplated. The parent who seeks the modification of child support must first prove that there has been a change and then the court has the discretion to change the amount of child support. Except in limited circumstances, the child support amount can only be modified once every two years.

Children with special needs

If you have a child with special needs that will never be able to live independently and support himself or herself, it is critical to retain a child support attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has expertise in how to handle that situation. Since child support cannot be ordered to be paid for an adult child, other means are required to make sure that the child, once he or she becomes an adult, will be supported by both parents. Contact Bloom Lines & Alexander for fair legal representation.

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