How to Calculate Child Support in Georgia 2018
Calculating Child Support – the Basics
See our UPDATED ARTICLE on Child Support Payments
Calculating child support in Georgia is based on specific guidelines within an “Income Shares Model.” This model involves considering the incomes of each parent, and then applying several factors. Updates to child support laws in 2018 improved the fairness of the factors used to determine child support obligations.
How to Determine Child Support Payments
Step 1: Income Evaluation
Income evaluation requires combining the adjusted gross monthly income for the parents, and then determining the percentage of the total that each parent contributes.
Example of Income Evaluation: Monthly income for Parent “A” is $6,000 and income for Parent “B” is $4,000. This reveals that Parent “A” makes 60% of the total monthly income, and Parent “B” makes 40% of the total monthly income.
Step 2: Basic Child Support Obligation (BCSO) Table
Georgia has a Basic Child Support Obligation table which defines a base monthly amount for the number of children. You can find the monthly amount on the table that corresponds with your situation. Factor this number by the income percentage of the non-custodial spouse to determine the base amount of child support.
Example of Applying BCSO to Income: The combined adjusted gross monthly income is $10,000. Per the BCSO Table, for two children the base amount is $1,749 per month. If Parent “A”, who makes 60% of the total income, is the non-custodial parent they would be responsible for 60% of the base amount. The calculation of child support is then calculated as $1,749 (base amount) x .60 (60% obligation) = $1,049.40 (the basic child support obligation). This is not necessarily the amount of child support which is due each month. This number will be further adjusted by the factors listed below.
Georgia Child Support Calculator 2018
An alternative way to find out how much child support may be is to use the Georgia Online Child Support Calculator. Per the Judicial Council of Georgia website, this is what you can expect in using the FREE child support calculator tool:
The Georgia Child Support Calculator has been developed and made available by the Georgia Commission on Child Support as the official calculator for Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines statute found at O.C.G.A. §19-6-15. Information entered in the calculator is used to determine a presumptive amount of child support that may be deviated from to reach a final child support amount.
Factors that Can Change the BCSO Amount
Calculating Income and Deductions
Adjusted Gross Monthly Income (AGMI) includes earned or unearned income. Examples are wages, commissions, retirement or disability payments, and passive income. Your AGMI does not include public assistance but may include certain work-related benefits that lower out-of-pocket living expenses (company car, gasoline cards, etc.)
You may be able to deduct child support you pay relative to another relationship. Self-employment taxes are another item that may be deducted from income. Children from another relationship who are living with you, that are not covered by a separate court order, may also provide an income deduction.
Imputing Income for Hardships
Income hardship can be a justification form requesting a lower support payment. It is worth noting that the hardship must be involuntary. Being fired, laid off or unable to find suitable work are legitimate reasons. Quitting a job, refusing to find suitable employment or otherwise causing or contributing to the hardship are not acceptable. When deciding, the court usually considers whether the hardship is a short-term or long-term condition.
Adjustments for Other Expenses
Georgia law allows a judge to also consider the impact of other expenses such as work-related childcare, health insurance, extracurricular activities and special needs such as expensive medical treatments, prescription drugs, and medical equipment.
Amount of Parenting Time
The court generally assumes that children will spend the majority of their time with the custodial parent. This means that the custodial parent will incur the bulk of the expenses associated with raising a child. If the parenting time is closer to equal, as in joint physical custody arrangements, it can be a reason to share the expenses in a more equal manner.
Acceptable Deviations from Child Support Guidelines
Under Georgia law, a judge can deviate from what the normal guidelines produce as the appropriate child support amount. When the process yields a figure that does not accurately reflect a parents’ ability to pay or protect the best interests of the child a judge may change the figure. The “other expenses” listed above are examples of reasons to revise the actual amount of child support. Many divorce decree settlement agreements have a clause that such items will be equally split between the parents.