Child support in Georgia utilizes a shared income approach regarding child support obligations. The law recognizes both parents’ obligation to contribute to the support of a child. The following chart is an example of the basic child support obligation ("BCSO"):
Adj. Gross Income
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Factoring the BCSO
Each parent is responsible for a portion of the stated BCSO amount. If the parties earn equal amounts, they will each be responsible for one-half of the BCSO. If the father earns 35% of the combined income, he will be responsible for 35% of the BCSO. If the mother earns 85% of the total combined income, she will be responsible for 85% of the BSCO. The non-custodial parent pays his or her percentage of the BCSO to the custodial parent regardless of which parent earns more money.
The statute permits variation from the basic child support obligation based on pre-existing obligations for other children, health insurance costs, child-care expenses, shared physical custody arrangements, alimony, visitation expenses and other reasonable expenses.
How Long Do Payments Continue?
The child support obligation continues until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school, whichever is later, but not past the age of 20. Medical expenses, insurance, and post secondary education expenses should be considered and incorporated into the parties' settlement agreement.
Neither parent is obligated to support a child after graduation from high school. However, if a settlement agreement provides for such support and it is made part of the final order, the courts will enforce the agreement of the parties by contempt.
Alimony is designed to assist a party after divorce. It can be awarded to either party in accordance with the needs of the parties and ability to pay. Today, it is most commonly ordered as "rehabilitative" payments for a limited period of time. However, a party is not entitled to alimony if the cause of the separation is that party's adultery or desertion.
Factors that affect the amount and duration of alimony payments are: the standard of living during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, financial resources of the parties, the time necessary for a party to find appropriate employment, contribution to the marriage and each party's separate assets.