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CHILD SUPPORT

PERIDOC PAYMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT  In arriving at a fair amount for child support, you should, and the Court will, consider the needs of the children and the financial assets, earnings and needs of each parent.  in 2007 the Georgia Legislature passed a new manner in which judges and courts must follow in order to determine child support.  Basically, the Legislature determines a table relying upon accounting data which was prepared for the State.  In arriving at the amount the Court determines initially the monthly income of each parent and adds the two sums together to arrive at the total monthly amount.  Taking the number of children and the total monthly income of both parents the judge goes to the Georgia Child Support Tables.  The Tables provide for a monthly amount of support for the number of children.  Taking that monthly amount of support the judge would prorate the monthly amount in consideration of the precentages each parent earns to the total sum of income from both parties. 

Thereafter, the judge looks at the health insurance, child care and other factors to determine what amount each parent is to pay of the monthly child support.  The Court can also require life insurance.  State law provides support of a child until the age of eighteen (18), unless the child is enrolled in and attending a secondary school in which case support can continue until the child graduates or reaches the age twenty (20).

NOTE:  There is an exception for a disabled child as the state can require a parent to support a disabled child beyond the age of majority.

If parents desire for a child to go to college, the court cannot require a continuation of support after the child reaches age eighteen but parents can by agreement provide for such costs. 

MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT If the children's needs or the parent's ability to pay support substantially and materially changes, then child support can be raised or lowered.  It is very important that if after an award is established in a appropriate courtís order a new petition must be filed and a new order must be signed by the appropriate judge before the previous order is no longer effective.  The courts do not look favorably on informal agreements between parents as they are usually unenforceable and difficult of determination of specific details.  Consequently, there are many cases where a paying at the request of the child or other parent has taken possession of the child and child support continues to accrue.  Therefore, it is mandatory that if there is a change in custody or support a new order is filed to provide for such change.

INCOME DEDUCTION ORDER Child support, and sometimes alimony, can be assigned out of the pay check of the person who is paying it (usually through an income deduction order) or it can be paid through the Court's child support receiver office.

As with alimony, child support must be reasonable.  Enough can be too much.  If the custodial parent is awarded enough child support, enough may be too much for the non-custodial parent to be able to pay.  If this happens, the burden becomes too heavy, and if the ties to the children and community are too weak, then the non-custodial parent will leave.  Once a non-custodial parent has left the state, it can be difficult to enforce child support rulings, although federal laws are available to assist in this area.

If the person required to pay child support does not pay, the court can hold that person in contempt of court and put them in jail until they do pay.  Usually payment must be at least 30 days past due before the court can consider a contempt action.  If you are the person required to pay support and you fail to pay without an extremely good legal excuse you can expect to be threatened to go from the hearing to jail.  If you are the person bringing the contempt keep in mind the judge is not inclined on a first hearing of contempt to put the paying parent in jail.  More often the judge will warn a parent and make such pay attorney fees.

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