Why is child support so complicated?
Child support is an extremely important part of every divorce because it affects your family’s financial future. Much of this issue is set by the state through “Child Support Guidelines”, however, the judge considers the guidelines and may adjust them up or down depending on your specific circumstances. It can be easy to get taken advantage of if you do not have expert help from an experienced divorce attorney.
The following cases usually have the most complex child support calculations:
- Your custody and visitation plan is unusual
- You have high assets
- You have extremely low assets
- You or your spouse have unreported income
- Your spouse is not being truthful about his or her income
- Your child has special needs
- You have a child with extraordinary medical or educational expenses
- You have a child in private school
Our child support attorneys are very familiar with support matters and some even teach child support classes to other lawyers and mediators. Call or email us today to speak with an attorney that can answer all of your child support questions.
Common questions for a child support attorney
- How do you calculate child support in Georgia? It’s based on an “income shares model.” This means that both parents are responsible for supporting the children in proportion to their income level. A Basic Child Support Obligation (BCSO) is set by the state of Georgia for your monthly income level and number of minor children in the family. That Basic Child Support Obligation is then adjusted for the other financial circumstances of your family, and divided between the parents according to the percentage of family income that they earn.
- How do you divide the child support between parents? In Georgia, each spouse is responsible for child support according to the percentage of income he or she earns for the family.
- How long will child support be paid? For the most part, child support lasts until the child graduates from high school and turns 18. If the child turns 18 but he or she is still in high school then the child support continues until graduation from high school, but not beyond the age of 20. There are a few other events that could end child support like the child being emancipated or entering the military.
- What happens if we have more than one child? Unless the parents agreed to it beforehand, the support does not automatically reduce when one child turns 18. But, you can go back to court to have the support order modified.
- Does child support help to pay for college? Not in Georgia. However, the parties can agree to one or both of them being responsible for the cost of college during the divorce and that agreement will be upheld.
- What do child support orders cover? As long as the parents agree, it can cover any potential expense for your children.
- Do I have to pay child support if we both have physical custody? In some cases. If your spouse’s income is much lower than yours then you may have to pay so that the children will be comfortable while they stay with your spouse. This is an extremely complex issue and there are a lot of factors to take into account. If you are facing this situation then you need to contact one of our expert attorneys to discuss your case.
- Do I pay tax on the child support I receive and can they deduct the amount they pay? No to both.
- What do we do if we have a change of circumstance? Child support can be modified every two years or if there is a substantial change of circumstance for the parents or the child. This would include things like job loss, getting a significant pay raise, a child developing an illness or a myriad of other factors.
- Do we have to go back to court to modify child support? Yes. However, you don’t necessarily have to have a hearing in order to modify child support. If the two parties can agree on the new terms then you can ask the court to enter a Consent Order to modify the child support.
- What if we agree on child support and it is different from the court’s order? The child support amount can only be set by court order. If you have been paying a different amount than the one set by the court, even with the consent of the other party, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to address the issue.
- If we have agreed on child support, does the judge still have to order it? No. A judge is only required to review the particulars of a support agreement to verify it is in your child’s best interests. For this reason, it is best to get an attorney’s input while creating the agreement so the judge is more likely to accept it.