Understanding Child Support In Georgia
In Georgia, courts use a formula to determine child support. At The Law Offices of Abbott & Abbott, P.C., in Canton and Marietta, Georgia, we are extremely knowledgeable in the court’s use of this formula. This formula is not set in stone and we will work to make sure that the court understands your needs.
Our child support attorneys will give you an honest assessment of your situation so that you know what you can expect. We will aggressively pursue your interests to make sure your child gets the support they actually need.
Understanding The Child Support Guidelines
While there are many variables in the Georgia child support guidelines, the objective of child support is for the child to have a standard of living that is as close as possible to the standard the child had before the divorce. Georgia child support guidelines factor in the gross income of both parents. That will include the value of fringe benefits such as a company car. If one parent owns a business, The Law Offices of Abbott & Abbott, P.C., may ask a forensic accountant to provide an accurate income figure.
Does your child have unusual medical expenses or education expenses? Are those expenses necessary for the child’s well-being? Our attorneys can help you understand and navigate you through the complex analysis that the court will perform.
We can answer your questions about the child support guidelines. We are aggressive advocates for our clients and we will fight for your child to receive the support they need from both parents.
Modification Of Child Support
Circumstances change in every family. Following a divorce, a material change in circumstances may require a change in child support.
If there has been a significant change in circumstances after a child support order has been implemented, you can request a child support modification from the court. Our attorneys will work toward a modification of your child support order in situations involving a change in primary physical custody or one parent’s income.
There are many factors that can influence the amount of income a parent may be bringing in. We can explain how and under what circumstances a child support order can be changed. For example:
- If both parents agree to change child support, isn’t that good enough? No. The court needs to approve any change to child support. Failure to gain court approval could lead to a contempt action. Make the change legal.
- What does a material change in circumstances mean? If either parent has a substantial change in income — either less income or more — the support guidelines would indicate a change in support.
- A child’s serious illness could also be a reason to modify a child support order. More financial support may be needed to cover medical expenses and care. The court will need evidence of the illness and the related expenses. A child’s illness may mean that the custodial parent can no longer work because of caring for the child.
When these factors instigate a substantial change in income for either the custodial or noncustodial parent, a child support modification may be necessary. Not all changes in income will automatically require such a modification. The modification must be petitioned to the judge and the judge must approve the modification. That is why it is so important that you obtain a highly experienced divorce attorney to handle your case. You do not want to be stuck with a change in your child support agreement that you are not satisfied with.
Enforcement of Child Support Orders
When a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support, he or she could face a child support contempt action. If you need to bring a contempt action, we can help you pursue your interests.
What can be done when an order is not obeyed? An intentional violation of a court order, such as an order to pay child support, is considered contempt. We will file your petition and represent you at the contempt hearing. When the court finds the nonpaying party in contempt, the door is open to a wide range of enforcement opportunities that can help you get the money you need to raise your child.
Jail is also a motivator. You may think that there is no possible way that the other party can possibly come up with the money to pay the child support owed to you and your child. On the surface, it may seem that way, but there are always options. When someone is held in contempt, he or she can be incarcerated for not making an effort to pay child support. An individual can be held until he or she pays all or part of what is owed. We have seen many cases in which people have suddenly found the means to pay what they owe in order to get out from behind bars.
Of course, jail is not the only option. Wage garnishment and other less severe means may also make sense, depending on the situation.
If your legal custody and parenting agreement no longer fits your family's needs, either parent can seek a modification in Georgia. After the court approves your initial parenting plan, you can request a change in visitation or parenting time once every two years....