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How is child support determined?

Divorce or separation may be a difficult prospect in any situation, but when children are involved, the scenario can become much more complex. Child support laws can vary by state, but in Georgia, both parents' incomes are considered when the court is deciding the amount to be paid. The courts may also look at severance pay, pensions, lottery winnings and bonuses, among other financial considerations.

When determining child support obligations, both parents' monthly gross incomes are added together to form the combined adjusted income amount. Once this amount is reached, it is compared to the Child Support Obligation Table. This table takes into account the combined income as well as the number of children involved. The chart then provides a specific amount that is necessary for the monthly care of a child.

Once this amount is reached, the court will consider what proportion of the combined income each parent brings in. If, for instance, a divorce ends with the father as the non-custodial parent and he earns 80 percent of the combined income, he must then provide 80 percent of the necessary monthly amount that was reached in the Child Support Obligation Table.

Having to figure out the complex laws related to child support can make a custodial battle even more complicated. Georgia has a relatively straightforward child support system, but there are instances, such as those involving health care or extracurricular expenses, where these rules can be modified. With legal assistance, an individual may be able to secure a fair child support payment after custodial issues are handled. The information in this article should not be construed as specific legal advice.

Source: The Georgia Bar, "What are child support obligations?", November 13, 2014

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