Under Georgia child support laws, minor children are not only entitled to sustenance they are also entitled to support commensurate with their needs, limited only by the financial abilities of the parents involved. Child Support lawyer Lynn Hamilton Johnson has a clear understanding of these complex and important laws.
Child support consists of payments made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent on behalf of their children. Child support is generally paid monthly or bi-monthly until the child reaches the age of majority. Although child support payments are made to the custodial parent, Georgia law requires that child support be used exclusively for the benefit of the child or children involved.
As mandated by Georgia law, child support ensures that both parents continue to provide for the maintenance, protection and education of their minor children upon the dissolution of a marriage or other relationship.
Child support provides for clothing, shelter, food, utilities, medical and dental services, transportation and education, including amounts necessary to provide special schooling for children with learning disabilities. Child support may also pay for psychological counseling and other proven expenses necessary to care for the child involved and life insurance on the lives of either parent for the benefit of the minor child.
In a divorce, a claim for child support may be made by one spouse against another if the following requirements are met:
- There was a valid marriage between the parties;
- The husband and wife are now living in a bona fide state of separation;
- There are minor children as the issue of the marriage who have a legal claim for support; and
- The claim for child support is ancillary to a pending divorce suit or suit for separate maintenance.
If the parents are not married to each other, another method of obtaining child support would be by a paternity suit.
Prior to 2007, Georgia calculated child support based solely on the income of the non-custodial parent. Support was set within a percentage range depending on the number of children subject to the order.
Georgia's child support guidelines now require that the total gross income of both parties be considered. In determining the total gross income, the courts must consider income from all sources before any tax deductions.
The state provides a child support worksheet in Excel format. When the total income for both parents and the number of children for whom support is being calculated are entered on the spreadsheet, a presumptive child support amount is determined. This presumptive amount is the total amount (as determined by the Georgia legislatures) that it should cost each month for the care and maintenance of the minor child(ren).
Based on the incomes of the parties and their individual percentage of the total parental income, the obligations of each parent are calculated. Child support may either be determined by the judge or jury hearing a contested case or by the agreement of the parties based on certain factors and calculations. Neither the judge, nor jury, are bound to the presumptive amount of child support indicated by the child support worksheet. However, Georgia judges tend to follow the presumptive amount unless the parties involved can show good cause to deviate from the presumptive amount.
Lynn Hamilton Johnson - Attorney
To schedule a consultation, call us at 478-922-3889 or use our convenient Contact Form. We accept all major credit cards in our office and by telephone and we will be glad to discuss financial arrangements with you in detail.