Georgia Child Support Law

On this page you will find the Georgia child support calculator, how parents can modify support, when the court orders for support to be withheld from paychecks, and when the court will deviate from the Georgia support calculator.

Support for a minor child is one of the few things in divorce that is relatively certain. For the majority of divorces involving children, the amount of support to be paid is a straightforward application of a formula that is entirely a creature of statute, and most anyone can do the calculation easily. Georgia uses a model called "income shares" to figure the amount of support required from each parent. The formula turns on the following factors:

The combined gross income of the mother and the father.
Each parent’s gross income as a percentage of the combined gross income.
Any pre-existing obligation to pay child support or alimony.
The number of minor children of the parties.
The amount paid for work-related child care.
The amount paid for health insurance for the children, and the party responsible for paying it.
The number of overnights per year with each parent.

You can estimate the amount of support you will be ordered to pay by the Georgia Family Court by using the Georgia Support Calculator. This is the same site the judge will use in court.

Georgia Child Support Calculator

Georgia Financial Declaration for Family Court

Modification of a Georgia Support Order

No petition to modify child support may be filed by either parent within a period of two years from the date of the final order on a previous petition to modify unless a noncustodial parent has failed to exercise court ordered visitation, or has exercised a greater amount of visitation than was provided in the court order, or the motion is based on an involuntary loss of income. Otherwise, a petition to modify cannot be filed regardless of the length of time unless there is a substantial change in either parent’s income and financial status or needs of the child. The way to force the modification is to file a Petition to Modify, which requires payment of the filing fee applicable in the county where the petition is filed.

The smart way to manage support, if you and the other parent are cooperative and talking to each other, is simply to share your 1040's each year and recalculate support informally. If you find out that it's time for it to change, you can simply have a Georgia divorce lawyer prepare a Joint Petition to Modify that you both sign and file with the Family Court.

It is not smart to simply begin paying an amount lower than that determined by the court. If you're the one paying, and you begin paying a lower amount, any time the other parent gets angry with you, or just needs more money, he or she can go back to court and recover the deficiency, no matter how many times he or she may have assured you that it was okay for you to pay less.

Can Wages be Garnished in Georgia

Child and Spousal support can be collected by a wage garnishment in Georgia. Well over half the arrangements for support in Georgia use an Income Withholding Order, which is served on the paying spouse's employer. The support is deducted from their paycheck and paid directly to the court, which in turn pays it directly to the recipient. The Income Withholding Order is a sensible option. The one downside of the order to the recipient is that it may take several weeks for the recipient to get the first payment. Once the first payment arrives, however, the process tends to flow pretty smoothly.

Is the Calculated Guideline Amount Mandatory?

There can be a deviation in child support from the amount given by the calculator. While the support guidelines are mandatory, the trial court may deviate from them where the parties have entered a fair, written agreement establishing a different amount of support and stating the reasons therefor, or upon a written finding on the record that the application of the guidelines would be manifestly unjust or inequitable.

At What Age Does Child Support Stop?

In Georgia, each parent is responsible for supporting their child until the child's 18th birthday or until the age of 20 if the child is still in high school. Support can be stopped earlier if the child is found by the court to be emancipated. Emancipated means that the child has moved out of the home and is now self supporting. Examples of emancipation are joining the military, marrying, or having a full time job. You will need to petition the court for an order to terminate child support, it does not happen automatically. Often the court will accept a sworn affidavit along with proof that the child has graduated from high school. Contact your local clerk of the Georgia Family Court or your Georgia family law attorney for the procedures in your jurisdiction.

In Georgia Do I Have to Pay Child Support for College?

No you do not. There is no requirement to pay support for college unless there is an agreement between the parties.

What if I'm Not Sure I'm the Father

If you are not sure if you are the father, then you may want to perform a DNA test to determine paternity. If you are married to the mother at the time of conception, then there is a presumption that you are the father. You can perform a DAN test to verify paternity. Here is more information.

Georgia Paternity Laws

Child Support Enforcement

Support Enforcement

Georgia Contempt of Court Law

Can Military Wages be Garnished for Child Support?

Military wages can be garnished to collect child support. You must submit a form called an "Income Withholding Order" from your local child enforcement office. This form is then sent to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service at the address below in order to initiate the garnishment of military wages for child support. The Income Withholding Order is the only form that will authorize the military to withhold money and allocate it for child support. Even a divorce decree that orders a member of the military to make child support payments is not sufficient. If you have any questions about obtaining or sending the Income Withholding Order, you can contact DFAS at 1-888-332-7411. The form can be mailed or faxed to the following office:

Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Cleveland DFAS-GAG/CL
PO Box 998002 Cleveland, Ohio 44199-8002
FAX: (216) 522-6960

Military Support Frequently Asked Questions

Georgia Child Support Services

If you need to pay your support online or have other questions or need assistance contact:

Georgia Child Support Services

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