“Over the years, child support laws have drastically changed. Today, Georgia law makers and judges try to balance the relative incomes of the parents and the expenses of the children to reach a fair monthly child support amount.”
Child support arises from a legal duty imposed on both parents to support their child until he or she reaches the age of majority (18 in Georgia) or graduates from high school.
In 2007, Georgia changed the law on how to calculate child support. Prior to 2007, child support was calculated based only on the non-custodial parent’s income. The change in 2007 caused child support in Georgia to be calculated on the gross income of both parents. This change was in response to unfair child support orders against non-custodial parents, usually fathers.
In 2007, Georgia law was enacted that required a complicated excel spreadsheet to determine child support that must be filed with the court in any case involving children. Since 2007, Georgia’s Child Support Worksheet (CSWK) has gone through many changes and revisions.
Today, the Georgia Child Support Commission governs the content of the Child Support Worksheet. This includes determining what factors (as well as the weight of these factors) are to be used on how the amount of monthly child support is calculated. The Commission frequently changes the Worksheet to fine tune inequalities or to incorporate rulings from the Georgia Court of Appeals.
A Child Support Worksheet always contains the gross income of each parent. However, the court has wide latitude to determine and use an imputed income for either parent. This often happens when a parent is self employed. A judge will also impute income if there is evidence that a parent refuses to work, but has the ability to earn.
These are some of the items that will be included in either parent’s gross income:
After determining the correct gross income of each parent, the following items may be considered in the Child Support Worksheet:
Navigating the CSWK is not easy. You need a lawyer who is versed in determining how the CSWK is applied to your particular situation.
Tamela Adkins has litigated thousands of child support issues since the Child Support Worksheet was enacted into law in 2007.