Child support is a complex and emotional issue for divorced or families living separately. The parent paying child support often feels squeezed to the breaking point while the parent receiving support is often certain the amount they get is inadequate for the child’s needs.
Both may be right, because raising a child is expensive. However, the burden should be shared in a fair manner.
When you work with an experienced Atlanta child support lawyer during the divorce process, your attorney can ensure that the judge learns all the factors weighing in your favor so you can get the best available outcome. If a support order is already in place, a dedicated child support attorney can present persuasive arguments to show why that order should be modified.
Factors that Affect Child Support Obligations in Georgia
Sometimes, the parent who takes care of the child most of the time views child support as a source of income that is meant to maintain their lifestyle. However, the money is meant to benefit the child, and Georgia law obligates both parents to provide support.
In fact, the formula for calculating support includes income from both parents, even if one or both are not employed. The basic child support amount is allocated between parents and adjusted to account for health insurance and childcare costs associated with work.
There are many other factors a court has the discretion to consider when determining whether to deviate from the standard formula for calculating child support amounts. Some include:
- Situations where a parent has extremely high or low income
- Court ordered child support for other children
- Whether the parent has other biological minor children living in the home
- Whether other insurance is provided, such as life, vision, or dental insurance
- Allocation of child tax credits
- Travel expenses for visitation
- Extraordinary expenses for education, healthcare, or enrichment such as music lessons, athletics, etc.
- Actual parenting time
Overall, while the approach to setting a child support amount can be formulaic, there are ways to alter the results if parents work with their attorney to present the right evidence.
Modifying a Child Support Order
A change in circumstances does not automatically change a child support order in most cases. Instead, a parent needs to ask the court for a review and modification of a support order.
It is possible to petition for a modification of child support every two years. If a parent is discharged from a job or loses at least a quarter of their income, they may petition for modification even if it has been less than two years since the previous change. It is important to act right away in this type of situation because support obligations can change quickly under this rule which can keep debt from piling up.
In order to convince the court to amend a child support order, the parent seeking the modification must demonstrate a substantial financial change. It could be that one parent’s income has increased or decreased significantly, or the financial needs of the child have changed. An experienced child support lawyer will work to present clear and convincing proof of a change in circumstances that justifies an appropriate modification in support.
Work with a Skilled Child Support Lawyer in Atlanta
During the process of establishing the amounts and terms of child support payments or when it is time to make a change, it is always best to work with a skilled child support lawyer. Attempting to make modifications on your own could put you in violation of legal requirements.
At Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, we understand the impact child support has on your life and we will fight for what’s best for your family. To learn more about how we can help, contact us now for a confidential consultation.