Experienced Child Support Lawyers in Alpharetta

What You Need to Know About Child Support in GeorgiaIf you’re going through a divorce and have children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, a child support order will come up. An end of marriage is never easy, and potentially confusing court cases only make it more challenging. 

Understanding what child support is and how it’s determined is crucial. Knowing the importance of working with an attorney who understands child support in Georgia is even more vital. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about child support in Georgia. 

Hobson & Hobson, P.C is comprised of highly trained child support attorneys in Alpharetta, GA that rely on our special litigation training and over 30 years of combined experience in child custody cases to provide each client with an effective outcome while supporting yourself and your family. Contact us at  770-284-6153 or submit a contact form for us to contact you ASAP.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

In Georgia, an “income-sharing” approach is used for the calculation of child support. This means the total of both parents’ income together is used to establish the amount of support paid, minus any allowed deductions. 

The system for determining support payments uses complicated mathematical equations and may consider other factors. For example, if the non-custodial parent keeps health insurance for the children, this may lower the monetary support amount. Although it’s complicated to determine how much support you would pay without going to court, the courts do have an online child support calculator that can help you get an estimate. 

But, remember, this calculator can only be used for estimation purposes and doesn’t constitute the actual amount of support you (or the other parent) will have to pay. 

Who Is Eligible to Receive Child Support?

Any custodial parent or legal guardian is eligible to receive child support to help provide for the children’s needs. Any non-custodial parent who should be helping provide for these needs is eligible to pay, with amounts varying based on several individual factors. 

What Is Child Support Supposed to Be Used For?

The parent collecting child support is meant to use those monies to pay for the needs of their children. Although the legislation doesn’t provide an exhaustive list of children’s needs, it’s generally assumed the custodial parent will know and provide for their children’s unique needs.

Some child support orders require other payments in addition to the set weekly amount. For example, the judge may order the non-custodial parent to pay a percentage of co-pays for a child with health problems. 

Or the courts may order a non-custodial parent to pay half of all related expenses for a child who particularly excels in a given area, such as sports. These are determined on an individual case level.

Without any exceptions, child support monies should help provide for a child’s clothing, food, and shelter. It should also help provide for fees associated with school, extracurricular activities, and medical expenses. Anything necessary for a child to live comfortably and thrive would be covered under costs pertaining to child support. 

What Is the Age Limit to Receive Child Support?

Georgia law states a child is eligible for support payments until they reach the age of 18. However, there is one stipulation to this rule. If a child is still in school on their 18th birthday, the courts can extend child support payments until they graduate or turn 20, whichever comes first.

However, this only counts towards high school. Other states allow for support to continue through trade school or college, but Georgia does not. 

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Child Support in Georgia?

Not paying court-ordered child support in full each week could have numerous legal consequences. For example, suppose a non-custodial parent can’t pay due to job loss or another serious financial problem. 

In that case, the judge will likely order them to enroll in one of two programs, the Parental Accountability Court Program or the Fatherhood Program. In addition to enrollment in one of these two programs, the judge can choose a more severe consequence. 

The type of consequence for not paying child support is determined by the unpaid amount, duration of nonpayment, and other considerations. A few of the potential consequences for not paying court-ordered child support include:

  • Withholding support payments from paychecks
  • unemployment 
  • workers’ comp benefits

Interception of federal and tax income tax refunds or lottery winnings 

  • Reporting to the three credit bureaus (which will negatively impact your credit score) Suspension of driver’s license (including occupational licenses)
  • Potential jail sentence (if contempt of court actions are filed and found viable)
  • Seizure of bank accounts 
  • lump settlements
  • personal property
  • Denial 
  • Suspension
  • revocation of passports

Working With a Lawyer on Child Support and Custody Cases 

Child support orders aren’t only complicated in themselves but are generally part of a more extensive custody hearing. The court will consider various factors in determining custody, parenting time, and applicable support. Naturally, you want what’s best for your children.

For this reason, it’s imperative you work with an experienced Alpharetta child support lawyer on the matter.

Custody orders will generally come before child support rulings because parenting time for both parents is a major determining consideration. It’s best to find an attorney at the beginning of your divorce or custody case, so you have representation at every step of the journey. 

If you’re a non-custodial parent, the amount of parenting time will be considered when determining support payments. This means you’ll pay more if you have your children 20% of the time than if you have 50/50 physical custody. An attorney can also help ensure the judge considers additional things, like health insurance coverage, school tuitions, and more. 

Contact Us Today for Assistance

You shouldn’t go it alone if you’re going to court for child support or a larger child custody case. Our attorneys at Hobson & Hobson understand child custody law in Georgia and can help you every step of the way. So call us today at (770) 284-6153 or fill out our online contact form, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.