Understanding Child Custody Types and Determining Factors in Georgia

Child support payments are often part of custody arrangements. These court-ordered monthly payments to the primary custodial parent and are intended to help pay for housing, food, clothing, healthcare and other necessities for each child the parent has a legal obligation to support. Much like custody, there are several factors judges take into consideration in determining the amount of child support obligations. The Georgia Child Support Guidelines are intended to create a fair, equitable child support arrangement for both parents and serve as a standard method for calculating the amount of monthly payments.

The Guidelines take into consideration:

  • Income Shares Model: based on the idea a child should receive the same proportion of parental income they would have received if the parents were not separated.
  • Both Parents’ Incomes: the gross incomes of both the custodial and non-custodial parents.
  • Adjustments: factors such as high income, health insurance, childcare costs and visitation-related travel expenses
  • Additional Support: includes expenses for education, extracurricular activities, and medical expenses not covered by insurance
  • Number of Children: the number of children requiring financial support.
  • Parenting Time: the non-custodial parent’s financial responsibility can be adjusted based on the amount of time spent with the child.
  • Enforcement: Georgia has means of tracking and ensuring payment, and failure to comply with payments can result in penalties or other legal ramifications, including jail time.
  • Modification: child support obligations can be reviewed and modified in the event of income changes or based on the needs of the child.

It’s a common misconception that child support is a fixed number based on the number of children, and as you have read, it’s a bit more complicated. Another popular misconception is that child support should be recalculated if a parent is remarried to reflect the new spouse’s income. This doesn’t occur in Georgia, as the new spouse or stepparent does not have a legal obligation to support the child. One additional
misconception is that child support payments stop when the child turns 18. This is generally true, but in Georgia child support payments continue until a child graduates from high school or reaches the age of 20, whichever comes first.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve gotten this far, we’ve covered an overwhelming amount of information concerning child custody and support. Divorce, custody, and child support issues are serious and life changing. These are major milestone moments and involve complex legal issues and considerations that you should not try to navigate on your own. The Family Law division of Smith, Welch, Webb & White has attorneys with decades of experience serving clients in our communities. It’s our point of pride, and our honor, to support you and your family with honest, realistic evaluations and tireless legal guidance. The legal, financial, and emotional impacts of child custody can be immense,
long-lasting, and far-reaching. But we do our very best to help keep those costs as minimal as possible and always put the best interests of our clients, and their children, first and foremost.

Our law firm has been a part of this community for over a century, and we’ll always be here to help guide you through the legal issues that matter most to your life. Please call us at 855-505-7999 or contact us online for any questions or issues you have concerning divorce, child custody, or child support.