Part 1 – Demystifying the Child Support Worksheet
PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of this series is to explain some of the general principles of calculating child support under Georgia Law. It is impossible to explain how child support is handled in every divorce case, because each case is unique, with it’s own special facts and circumstances. If you need to have child support calculated for a divorce, legitimation, modification, or any other type of case, you should seek the advice of an attorney to ensure that your case is being handled properly.
There are several different portions of the Georgia Child Support Worksheet. The top of the worksheet gives basic information about the case, including the jurisdiction, the parties’ names, the case number, and the children’s names and dates of birth.
Below all the factual information is a table with lots of numbers, that looks like the picture above. These numbers are the figures involved in calculating child support.
First, both parents income is added to get a total income for the family. Based on that total, a Basic Child Support Obligation is calculated, using the table set forth in the Child Support statutes – this is the amount estimated as necessary to provide for a child at the income level of that family.
After determining the Basic Child Support Obligation, that amount is apportioned to each parent according to the percentage that parent contributes to the total family income, which is the parents’ “pro rate” share. In the example above, the Mother earns 40% of the total, while the Father earns 60%, so the Father is responsible for 60% of the Basic Child Support Obligation.
Below the parents’ pro rata shares are a number of adjustments that can be made to the Basic Child Support Obligation. In the example above, there are adjustments for health insurance premiums paid by the Father and child care expenses paid by the Mother.
Finally, after all the typical adjustments, there is the presumptive amount of child support. Most non-custodial parents will be ordered to pay child support according to the presumptive amount. However, there are additional adjustments that may be made for a variety of other circumstances.
Look for more detailed information about the individual parts of the Child Support Calculations in future posts. As always, this brief information is no substitute for the counsel of an attorney who is licensed to practice in the State of Georgia and has extensive experience dealing with custody and child support matters. If you seek the advice of an attorney if you require assistance.
Click here to find additional information provided by the State of Georgia.