How child support is calculated and modified in Georgia

Noncustodial parents in Georgia are expected to provide for their children. The amount they pay is based on their earnings, the income of the custodial parent, and the needs of the child. Noncustodial parents are required to provide their children with financial support until they reach the age of 18, and custodial parents cannot waive their right to receive child support. Child support payments are not adjusted automatically to reflect increases in the cost of living, but they may be modified from time to time if the needs of the child or the incomes of the parents change.

How child support is calculated in Georgia

Georgia used to base child support based only on the noncustodial parent’s income, but state guidelines now advise the judges who make these decisions to also consider what the custodial parent earns. It is important to bear in mind that judges have the discretion to deviate from the guidelines and increase or decrease child support. This often happens when the child has special needs and more money is needed to cover health care and educational expenses.

Modifying child support orders in Georgia

Custodial or noncustodial parents in Georgia who wish to modify a child support order can pay a $100 fee to have the Georgia Division of Child Support Services review their case. The fee is waived for parents who receive Medicaid or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. Once the review process is completed, which can take up to six months, the DCSS may recommend that payments be increased, decreased or remain the same. Past due child support payments cannot be modified.

Preparing for a child support review

Child support reviews are completed more quickly when DCSS personnel are provided with all of the documents they need in a timely manner. Before contacting the agency, parents should gather their tax returns, recent pay stubs and bills for child-related expenses like health insurance premiums and daycare fees. Parents who wish to modify a child support order based on a significant change in circumstances must be able to demonstrate that the change is likely to be permanent.

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