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The Income Shares Model and Calculating Georgia Child Support

In 2007 The State of Georgia enacted the “income shares” model which calculates child support by taking into account the income sources of both parents. The Georgia child support laws established a presumption that the custodial parent will bear the expenses related to the child or children, assisted by the child support paid by the noncustodial parent. The child support guidelines must be used in any matter involving the financial support of a child, such as a

  • Temporary child support order
  • Permanent child support order, or a
  • Temporary protective order under the Family Violence Act

This statutory calculation provided the Georgia Child Support Worksheet creates a presumption as to the appropriate amount of child support. However, this amount may be increased or decreased by the court after a determination that said deviation is in:

  • The best interest of the child
  • Based on the circumstances of the parties
  • The basis or purpose for the deviation

Per Georgia statute, O.C.G.A §19-6-15, in order to calculate monthly child support the court will first need to determine the monthly gross income of both the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent. Then the pro rata share of the basic child support obligation for the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent is calculated by dividing the combined adjusted income into each parent’s adjusted income to arrive at each parent’s pro rata percentage of the basic child support obligation. The statute also prorates additional expenses for the child such as health insurance and work-related childcare cost amongst each of the parents in its determination of the total basic child support obligation. Lastly, there are deviations which are subtracted from or added to the presumptive amount of child support. In the context of a child support order, a deviation is discretionary by the court and may be ordered to increase or decrease the presumptive child support amount based on the court’s consideration of what is in the best interests of the child or children. Examples of deviations may include:

  • High income;
  • Low income;
  • Other health related insurance;
  • Life insurance;
  • Child and dependent care tax credit;
  • Travel expenses;
  • Alimony;
  • Mortgage;
  • Permanency plan or foster care plan;
  • Extraordinary expenses;
  • Parenting time; and
  • Nonspecific deviations;

After these factors are considered, the court will issue a final child support order.

The process for calculating child support as outlined in §19-6-15 is lengthy and consists of subsections and term definitions which are critical for understanding and properly performing the calculations in order to reach the accurate amount of support you would be owed or obligated to pay. Additionally, not all deviations are guaranteed. In fact, whether a court will consider and award a deviation either for or against a party is often the source of hotly contested litigation. Attorneys at the Faucette Law Firm, LLC have assisted hundreds of clients with child custody, child support and most importantly, the calculating child support obligations via the child support worksheet. We handle all family law and divorce matters including contested and uncontested divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, modifications, legitimations and adoptions. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.