Atlanta Child Support Lawyer
Georgia law mandates that child support issues must be determined before parties with minor children can get divorced. A determination must be made who is going to paying child support and how much the support will be. The determination as to who will be the primary physical custodian, in other words who will have them a majority of the time, is the first step in determining child support. The parent who has primary physical custody of the minor children is going to be the recipient of the child support payments from the non-custodial parent.
Georgia uses an Income Shares Model to determine the amount of child support. The Income Shares Model assumes that both parents are equally responsible for the financial needs of their children. This does not mean however that they must each pay half of the child support amount that is deemed necessary and appropriate by the state. Child support using this model is calculated using a means-based gradient. For example, if the state guidelines call for $1,500.00 in monthly child support to provide for two children and the mother is the custodial parent, and if she earns $3,000 per month, and the child’s father earns $5,000 per month, then the father is earning 62.5% of the total earnings of the two parents.($5,000.00/$8,0000 = 62.5%) The father would therefor have to pay 62.5% of the $1,500.00 that the state guidelines mandate for the support of the children. This would total $937.50 per month.
People who have to pay child support often misunderstand its purpose. Child support is intended to provide for the necessities of daily living for the child. As any parent knows, children are not cheap to raise. Frequently, the child support ordered by law does not come close to paying for all of the additional expenses inherent in raising a child like school expenses and extracurricular activities. It is important to spell out financial responsibility for these expenses in a settlement agreement, otherwise it is presumed that they are included in the child support amount and the custodial parent will have no right to seek them from the non-custodial parent. You need an experienced attorney to make sure issues like this are covered in your divorce.
Failure to pay child support can result in the imposition of sanctions by a court in the form of contempt. Penalties can include the assessment of attorney’s fees and incarceration.
If you have questions about child support in Georgia contact us and our Atlanta Child Support Lawyers to arrange for a free consultation.