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Georgia’s New Child Support Guidelines*. Income Shares *Effective Date is July 1, 2006. Purpose. Captures actual child-rearing expenses at various levels of parental income and then pro-rates these expenses between both parents. Requires consideration of the income of both parents

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Georgia’s New Child Support Guidelines*

Income Shares

*Effective Date is July 1, 2006


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Purpose

  • Captures actual child-rearing expenses at various levels of parental income and then pro-rates these expenses between both parents

  • Requires consideration of the income of both parents

    • Allows child to share in the financial resources of both parents

    • Each parent is responsible for his/her pro-rata share of the child support obligation


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Basic Concepts

  • Adjusted Gross Income

  • Combined Adjusted Gross Income

  • Child Support Obligation Table

  • Basic Child Support Obligation

  • Adjusted Support Obligation


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Definitions

  • Adjusted Gross Income –determination of the parent’s income, calculated by deducting self-employment taxes, pre-existing child support orders and other qualified children not under a pre-existing support order

  • Combined Adjusted Gross Income--calculatedby adding the adjusted gross incomes of both parents


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Child Support Obligation Table—chart displaying the dollar amount of the basic child support obligation corresponding to various levels of the parents’ adjusted gross incomes and number of children

Basic Child Support Obligation—rebuttablypresumed to be the appropriate amount of basic child support to be provided by both parents, prior to any adjustments and deviations

Definitions


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Adjusted Support Obligation –the basic child support obligation from the child support obligation table, adjusted for health insurance, work related child care costs and parenting time

Definitions



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Tools for Calculation of Support

  • Worksheets

    • Child Support Worksheet – to be used in all cases for calculation of the child support obligation

    • Theoretical Support Order Worksheet – to be used when calculating credits for a parent’s qualified other children

    • Adjusted Gross Income Worksheets – to be used in calculating each parent’s adjusted gross income

    • Electronic Calculator—to be used in calculating child support via the computer. It will be in the form of a worksheet but prompting questions will guide user.



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Gross Income Calculations

  • Gross Income

    • From all non-exempt sources – same is in current Guidelines

    • Both parents of the child – Do not consider income of a non-parent caretaker

    • No deductions for federal income taxes or FICA contributions, except for self-employed parents – these taxes are taken into consideration within the child support obligation tables


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Gross Income Calculations

  • Adjusted Gross Income

    • Gross Income minus the following:

      • Self-employment taxes paid by the parent

      • Amounts paid on pre-existing child support orders

      • Support provided to qualified other children of the parent*

    • The Adjusted Gross Income of each parent is combined to determine the percentage of income (pro rata) for each parent

      *Discretionary or as a reason for a deviation


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Credits for Qualified Other Children

  • Pre-existing support orders

    • The filing date of the pre-existing order is earlier than the filing date of the case before the court

    • Priority for pre-existing cases is determined by the date of the initial order in each case.

    • The parent is actually paying support, as evidenced by documentation

    • Credit allowed for the average of the amount of current support paid under the pre-existing order over the past 12 months prior to the hearing date.

    • Does not include amounts paid on arrears


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Credits for Qualified Other Children

  • Children not subject of pre-existing child support orders

  • Credits for either parent’s other children may be considered by the court for the purpose of reducing the parent’s gross income or as a reason for deviation

  • Credits may be considered for other children:

    --for whom parent is legally responsible and resides in parent’s home

    --for whom parent is actually supporting

    --who are not before the court to set, modify or enforce support

  • Stepchildren and other minors in home where parent has no legal obligation to support shall not be considered in the calculation of this credit


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Definitions

Theoretical Order –

  • A hypothetical order which allows the finder of fact to determine the amount of a child support obligation if an order existed.

  • Used to determine the amount of credit allowed as a deduction from a parent’s gross income for a parent’s qualified other child who is not under a pre-existing child support order.


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Alimony

  • Actual payments of alimony should not be considered as a deduction from gross income, but may be considered as a factor to vary from the final presumptive child support order


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Gross Income Calculations

  • Willful and Voluntary (Under)Unemployment –

    • Similar to the ground of deviation found in the current Guidelines

    • Determination now applies to both parents

    • Applies to any intentional act of the parent

    • Statute contains list of factors to guide court

  • Imputed Income –

    • Similar to current process

    • If no other reliable evidence of parent’s income or income potential, court may impute 40 hour workweek at minimum wage

    • Upon motion to the court, either parent may later (within 90 days) provide reliable evidence of income



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Basic Child Support Obligation

  • Amount of basic support to be provided by both parents is determined on the Child Support Schedule by cross-referencing the combined adjusted gross income of both parents with the number of children for whom support is being calculated – amount does not include:

    • Adjustments for additional expenses

    • Adjustments for parenting time

    • Adjustments for deviations

    • Uninsured medical expenses

  • This amount is allocated between the parents according to the percentage of income of each parent


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Definitions

  • Percentage of Income– the percentage of income for each parent is calculated by dividing each parent’s adjusted gross income by the combined adjusted gross income of both parents


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Basic Child Support ObligationSpecial Circumstance:

  • Split Parenting –

    • Only occurs if there are two or more children of the same parents, and one parent has custody of at least one child, and the other parent has custody of one or more of the other children

    • In this type of situation, there will be two custodial parents and two non-custodial parents, but no child will have more than one custodial parent


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Definitions

  • Parenting time adjustment - adjustment to the NCP’s portion of the basic child support obligation, based upon the NCP’s parenting time with the child


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Basic Child Support Obligation

  • Parenting Time Adjustment

    • NCP’s support obligation may be reduced for the days of additional parenting time

    • Parenting time with the child greater than 99 days

      • 100 - 136 days = 10% reduction

      • 137 - 151 days = 20% reduction

      • 152 - 166 days = 30% reduction

      • 167 - 181 days = 40% reduction

      • 182+ days = 50% reduction


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Basic Child Support Obligation

  • Parenting Time Adjustment

    • The CP’s support may increase for the reduction of NCP’s parenting time.

    • Parenting time with child less than 61 days

      • 60 – 39 days = 10% increase

      • 38 – 24 days = 20% increase

      • 23 – 9 days = 30% increase

      • 8 – 0 days = 35% increase


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Definitions

  • Days – a parent gets credit for a day of parenting time if the child spends more than 12 hours of a calendar day with or under the control of a parent and that parent expends a reasonable amount of resources on the child during this time period



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Treatment of Expenses

  • Amounts actually paid by a parent or other caretaker

  • Basic Expenses

    • Such as:

      • Food

      • Clothing

      • Housing

    • Will be included within the basic support obligation


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Treatment of Expenses

  • Additional Expenses

    • Mandatory Expenses

      • Child’s healthcare premium

        • Expense attributable only to child for whom support is being calculated

        • Prorated between the parents based upon their respective incomes.

        • Added on to basic child support obligation

      • Work-related childcare

        • Projected over next 12 months and averaged for a monthly amount

        • Expense due to employment of either parent

        • Added on to the basic child support obligation

        • Prorated between the parents


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Treatment of Expenses

  • Uninsured Medical Expenses

    -- Includes uninsured medical expenses, such as health insurance co-payments and deductibles, as well as expenses not covered by insurance.

    --Parents should divide expenses pro rata.

    Also:

    --In instances of extreme hardship, extraordinary special needs for the child of parent’s current family may be considered as a deviation from the child support guidelines.


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Definitions

  • Uninsured Medical Expenses - medical expenses which include, but are not limited to, health insurance co-payments, deductibles, and such other costs as are reasonably necessary for orthodontia, dental treatment, asthma treatments, physical therapy, vision care, and any acute or chronic medical/health problem, or mental illness, including counseling or other medical or mental health expenses, that are not covered by insurance.


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Treatment of Expenses

Extraordinary Educational Expenses

  • May be added to the Basic Child Support Obligation as a deviation

  • May include tuition, room and board, lab fees, books, and other reasonable expenses associated with special needs or private school education that are appropriate to the parent’s financial abilities and lifestyle of the child

  • If deviation is allowed, a monthly average of these expenses shall be based on evidence of prior or anticipated expenses and entered on the child support worksheet under the deviation section


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Treatment of Expenses

Special Expenses

  • Incurred for child rearing, such as camp, music or art lessons, travel, school extracurricular activities...can include cost variations based on children at different age levels.

  • When special expenses exceed 7% of the monthly basic child support obligation, then court shall consider additional amounts of support as a deviation to cover the expenses.


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Summary of Calculations

  • Basic Child Support Obligation–

    • Obtained from the Child Support Obligation Table

    • Based on number of children and combined adjusted gross income of both parents

  • Adjusted Support Obligation--

    • Basic Child Support Obligation adjusted for parenting time, the health insurance premium and work related child care expenses.


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Summary of Calculations

  • Presumptive Child Support Order

    • Amount of support to be paid for the children derived from the parent’s proportional share of the basic child support obligation,

    • Adjusted for parenting time,

    • Plus the addition of the parent’s proportional share of any additional expenses.

    • Rebuttably presumed to be the appropriate child support order

  • Final Child Support Order

    • Presumptive Child Support Order,

    • Adjusted by any deviations ordered from the Court.


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Child Support Order

  • Deviations

    • Must consider the best interests of child for whom support is being calculated

    • Order shall include written findings of fact: reason for deviation, guideline amount and findings in support of deviation


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Child Support Order

  • Modifications

    • Generally require a significant change in circumstances of parent’s financial circumstances and needs of children

    • No petition to modify may be filed by either parent within a period of two (2) years from the date of the final order on a previous petition

  • Attorneys’ Fees

    • In proceedings for modification, court may award attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses to prevailing party as the interests of justice may require

    • Where non-custodial parent fails to exercise visitation as ordered and custodial parent prevails in upward modification, court may award reasonable attorneys’ fees to custodial parent


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Modification

  • The adoption of these new guidelines constitutes a significant material change in the establishment and calculation of child support orders –

    • An increase or decrease of 15% or more between the amount of the existing order and the amount of support resulting from application of these guidelines, shall be presumed to constitute a material change in circumstances to warrant a modification.

    • The differential is calculated by applying 15% to the existing award, and

    • May petition court for modification regardless of length of time since establishment or most recent modification. Need to also look to see if material change in parents’ incomes or the needs of the child.

    • If difference of 30% or more between the new award and prior award, the court may phase in the new child support award over a period of up to a year.


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Involuntary Loss of Income

  • In the event a parent suffers an involuntary termination of employment or other adversity which involuntarily results in a lose of income of 25% or more:

    • Then the portion of child support attributable to lost income shall not accrue from the date of filing of the petition for modification,

    • Provided that service is made on the other parent.

      Produced by Jill Radwin, Administrative Office of the Courts


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