//How Child Support is Determined
How Child Support is Determined2018-01-22T12:00:07+00:00


In Georgia, Child Support is determined using the Child Support Calculator which utilizes the various laws set forth by the Georgia legislature. Determining child support is a complicated procedure which involves many different factors. As you can imagine, income of each parent is the prominent variable; however various other amounts are also included. In Georgia, these are called “deviations.” These deviations may include day care expenses, insurance, previous child support obligations and many other factors.Divorces are never easy, especially when it involves children.  Raising children as a single parent can be very difficult.  That is why it is important to have an Atlanta family law attorney assist you along the way. Our child support attorneys can guide you through the process.


While it may sound simple, determining income can be a time-consuming and challenging task. In total, the process involves analyzing bank accounts, pay stubs, tax returns, financial records and other factors. Sometimes it is possible to show imputed income, which basically means “what the party should be making.” As you can imagine, many times a person will attempt to reduce their income in an attempt to pay lower child support. When this happens, many different legal procedures are used to force the other party to divulge this information.

In the state of Georgia, both parents are legally obligated to cater for their child’s needs until they graduate from high school, or attain the age of 18 , whichever comes later, but no later than the age of 20. There’s no obligation to cater for children who’re pursuing post-graduate studies or are in college. However, whatever is agreed upon at the settlement negotiations, and included in the Final Decree of Divorce, is enforced by the courts just like the law.

There are a few statutory factors that may be taken into account by the court when coming up with a determination for the adjustment of guidelines. Some mandatory adjustments include:

  • Any pre-existing child support orders that are still being paid for other children
  • The cost of work-related child care and health insurance
  • Taxes levied on self-employment
  • Social Security plans paid for the kids

There are also other adjustments which are considered discretionary, and which include:

  • Extraordinary healthcare costs
  • Cost of paying for special education
  • One spouse’s extra support obligations to other households
  • Finances that should be credited to a spouse due to the suppression of income
  • Non-monetary benefits that accrue to the self-employed, such as a company car or reimbursed meals
  • Any other support a spouse is providing, or is going to provide, like mortgage repayment
  • One person’s individual extraordinary needs, like healthcare expenses
  • Additional travel expenses for visitation or shared physical custody purposes

Child Support Modification and Application

The child support guidelines remain unchanged, irrespective of whether the obligations arise due to paternity action or a divorce. These guidelines are also used by the courts for child support cases of an interstate nature.

Child support can also be adjusted upwards or downwards whenever there’s a significant change in the financial circumstances of either party or when the children’s needs change. A modification action could be filed by either party, at any time after the initial order of support or divorce. However, no other modification action can be filed by the same party till two years have elapsed from the last final modification order, irrespective of the outcome.

Like with other financial issues during a divorce, any party may opt to have the permanent determination of child support handled by a jury. This applies for both modification as well as initial determination. A temporary award of support or modification may be made by a judge sitting in the absence of a jury, as the parties wait for a jury trial.

Any appeal of a decision on child support would be subject to a discretionary process of appeal, where both parties need prior permission to file an appeal.

Georgia Family law-A Point of Caution

In this state, a child support obligation continues till the modifications are fully formalized by a court order. The parties aren’t allowed to change it, even if they agree, without the intervention of the court. It also remains unchanged even when a child goes under the care of the other parent. The statute of limitation doesn’t apply for past child support that’s due. Interest is also added at the statutory rate, starting from the time when each payment falls due.


This is when it becomes vital to have a knowledgeable Atlanta child custody attorney fighting hard for you. If you are faced with divorce, give the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines a call today at (770) 941-0913 or fill out our contact form. We are Cobb County’s premier family law attorneys.

Your family’s future is at stake and you must persevere to ensure your family receives everything they should.