ATLANTA LAWYERS SKILLED IN FAMILY LAW MATTERS
Agreeing on future arrangements for young children can be one of the most important matters that a divorcing couple may face, and it can also become very contentious. If you need help working out a suitable child support agreement, contact the attorneys at Rowsey & Stelter. We have helped numerous clients in the Atlanta area with a wide variety of family law matters related to divorce, including those involving children.
ALLOCATING CHILD SUPPORT BETWEEN PARENTS
In Georgia, a determination of child support starts with an assessment of each parent’s gross income, allowing for certain deductions. Once those figures are determined, they are combined. The court then evaluates what percentage of the total is provided by each spouse. That amount will determine how much of the support obligation will be allocated to each parent. For example, if the father makes 75% and the mother earns 25% of the combined total income, the father will be required to provide 75% of the child support obligation, and the mother will be required to provide 25%.
The actual dollar amount of the support obligation of each parent is determined by taking the combined gross income figure, finding the corresponding support amount from the Georgia Child Support Obligation Table, and dividing that sum between the parents based on the percentage allocation determination. However, what may sound straightforward in theory can be considerably more complicated in reality, especially when each former spouse has a broad range of assets. The income figure is calculated by looking at not only salaries but also other types of income, including:
- Commissions, bonuses, overtime pay, and certain fringe benefits;
- Severance pay, pensions, and retirement income;
- Income from assets or investments, such as dividends, rents, income from annuities or trusts, and capital gains;
- Social security payments, workers’ compensation payments, and unemployment benefits;
- Income from personal injury claims, prizes, and gifts; and
- Alimony or other support payments.
Allowable deductions may include items such as self-employment taxes and pre-existing child support obligations.
Furthermore, the dollar calculation derived from the Child Support Obligation Table will not necessarily define the amount of either parent’s required payment during a given interval. The court must take into account any amount that either parent may be spending already for health insurance and child care. It must also consider the fact that the custodial parent will already be outlaying funds related to the support of children in the form of mortgage payments, rent, utilities, groceries, clothing, school supplies, and more. This assessment can be further complicated when parents share custody and expend money on these items to differing degrees.
To make the situation even more unpredictable, courts have the discretion to deviate from the defined support obligations based on any other factors that may be relevant, such as the amount of any payments, visitation- or custody-related travel expenses, or tax ramifications. Because of these manifold complications, it is advisable to retain the services of a lawyer experienced in this area who can help protect your interests during negotiations and, if needed, in court.
ENLIST A ROSWELL ATTORNEY TO ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS DURING A DIVORCE
Determining child support obligations is as challenging as it is critical. Many parents in Roswell and the surrounding areas have benefited from the advice of a knowledgeable divorce lawyer. Our firm can also provide legal assistance to a former spouse who is seeking to modify an existing child support obligation. If you need legal help with any family law matter, whether or not it involves your children, call us at 770-993-5317 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Alpharetta, Marietta, Milton, and other Georgia communities.