Income, Expenses and Other Factors Determine Child Support Payment Amounts

child support determinedIt’s one of the most common questions that family law attorneys hear: How is child support determined in Georgia? The courts first calculate the total of both parents’ income. The percentage of income that you contribute to this total will determine how much support you are responsible for.

Income and Deductions Used to Calculate Parents’ Income

First, the court must calculate the gross income of each parent. It considers several types of income, including the following.

  • Salary and wages (including overtime)
  • Bonuses
  • Commission
  • Income from self-employment
  • Rental property income
  • Severance pay
  • Pension income
  • Income from annuities
  • Social security income
  • Capital gains income
  • Unemployment

Next, it deducts certain expenses from the gross income amount, including half of self-employment taxes, existing child support payments, and expenses related to caring for a child not subject to the child support order.

Finally, the courts will combine both parents’ incomes to arrive at a Combined Adjusted Income. They enter the Combined Adjusted Income and the number of children on the support order into a worksheet to come up with a presumptive child support amount. The percentage of each parent’s contribution to the Combined Adjusted Income will determine each parent’s support obligation.

Other Factors That Might Affect a Child Support Order

  • Healthcare expenses. Both parents are responsible for the child’s healthcare expenses, not just the custodial parent. The courts add these expenses to the presumptive child support amount.
  • Child care expenses. Similarly, any child care expenses are added to the presumptive child support amount. This might include daycare costs or school-related costs.
  • Low or high income parents. If a parent’s income is not sufficient to pay the determined child support payments and would lead to hardship, or if a parent’s income is high enough to justify a rise in child support payments, the court may allow an adjustment to the presumptive child support amount.
  • Parenting time. If the noncustodial parent spends more time with the child than what is normal, and thus spends more money on caring for the child during this time, then the court may adjust the amount the parent must pay.

Attorney David Ward Can Help You Get a Fair Child Support Order

If you going through a divorce or other family law matter in Gwinnett County involving child support, make sure you have legal representation. These can be complex matters that involve intricate calculations, deductions, and deviations. Attorney David Ward can help. Contact us today to set up a consultation – 770-383-1973 or fill out our contact form.