Georgia Child Support Calculator
Support is set at the court's discretion if combined pay and parenting time are both equal.
Georgia Child Support Formula: 5 Steps, with Examples
When a parent has primary or sole physical custody, the other parent usually pays child support.
When parents share joint physical custody, the higher-earning one generally pays support. But if the parents have similar incomes, then no one pays support.
A judge (or a jury, in rare cases) determines payment amounts, using Georgia's child support formula (outlined below) as a guideline. If parents agree on a different amount, they must get approval from the court.
Support payments continue until the child is emancipated, marries, joins the armed forces, dies or turns 18 (or 20, if the child is still in high school at that age).
The guideline support formula
Use the calculator above or follow the steps below to estimate your guideline award, which is how much support the state recommends in your case. You can also use Georgia's child support calculator.
Keep in mind, the court can order more or less than the guideline award, as it sees appropriate.
Step 1: Determine each parent's adjusted monthly gross income
Add up your monthly taxable income from wages, salary, unemployment benefits, Social Security and other sources, excluding welfare.
Subtract any qualifying deductions (section f, paragraph 2), such as child support you receive for other children. The result is your adjusted monthly gross income.
Repeat the process with the other parent's data to get their adjusted monthly gross income.
Example: Consider the hypothetical case of Sharon and Henry. Sharon has primary physical custody of their children, and an adjusted monthly gross income of $5,000. Henry has an adjusted monthly gross income of $6,000.
Step 2: Combine adjusted monthly gross incomes
Add each parent's result from Step 1 together to get their combined monthly gross income.
Example: Sharon and Henry add their adjusted monthly gross incomes together to get $11,000.
Step 3: Find each parent's percentage of income
Divide each parent's adjusted monthly gross income (from Step 1) by the combined adjusted monthly gross income (from Step 2). Round to the second decimal place.
Example: Sharon divides her income of $5,000 by $11,000 to find she earns 45.45% of the combined income. Henry divides his income of $6,000 by $11,000 and discovers he earns 54.55% of the combined income.
Step 4: Check the combined basic support obligation
See the Basic Child Support Obligation Table. Locate your combined adjusted monthly gross income (from Step 2) in the left-hand column. (Round down if your exact combined income isn't listed.)
Follow that row across to the column that's labeled with the number of children in your case. The figure you land on is your combined basic support obligation.
Example: Based on their combined parental income in Step 2 ($11,000) and their number of children (two), Sharon and Henry's combined basic support obligation is $1,877.
Step 5: Determine each parent's basic support obligation
Take the combined basic support obligation and multiply it by each parent's percentage of income (from Step 3) to get their individual basic support obligation. Round to the nearest whole number.
When one parent has primary or sole physical custody, they receive the other parent's basic obligation as child support. If parents have joint physical custody, the parent with the higher income usually pays. (But they often pay less than their basic support obligation, since the court applies parenting time deviations, explained below).
Example: Sharon multiplies 1,877 by .4545; her basic support obligation is $853. Henry multiplies 1,877 by .5455; his obligation is $1,024. Since Sharon has primary physical custody, Henry should pay her $1,024 a month, per state guidelines.
The court may award more or less than the guideline amount based on factors like:
- Unusually high or low incomes (Voluntary unemployment doesn't count.)
- Parenting time (Calculate your parenting time with Custody X Change.)
- Who pays for health insurance and life insurance
- Who pays the children's school tuition
- Who pays for travel to visits (Calculate your expenses with Custody X Change.)
- Who claims the children on taxes
Applying for child support
To ask the court to award child support, turn in the following:
- Child Support Worksheet, accessible through Georgia's support calculator
- Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
- Child support application (except for divorce or separation cases, which automatically include child support)
- $25 fee (except for divorce or separation cases and parents receiving Medicaid or welfare)
- Verification of the children's school enrollment (only for school-age children)
- Birth certificates (only for children born outside of Georgia)
- Proof of any Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) benefits received
- Copies of any active child support orders
You'll need to include the other parent's address on your documents. If you can't locate the parent, your child support services office can help.
Parents who weren't married to each other when their child was born must establish paternity before either one can apply for child support.
Your parenting plan must also have a completed copy of the Child Support Worksheet and Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit attached.
Once a child support order has been active for three years, a parent can ask to have it updated by filing a Request for Review of Child Support Order.
To request modification before the three-year mark, the parent must prove a significant, material change in circumstances, such as:
- Loss of employment
- Change in income
- Child turning 18 (in the past or within the next six months)
The court waives the $100 modification fee for parents who receive welfare or earn $1,000 or less per month.
Missing child support payments can bring you back to court. If you're 60 or more days behind, the court can suspend your driver's license. Other possible penalties include seizure of your wages or even imprisonment.
One way to ensure the other parent pays support as ordered is to apply for an income deduction order. If it's approved, support will be taken automatically from their paycheck.
Other child support details
You cannot refuse to pay child support because the other parent won't let you see the children. Likewise, you can't withhold visitation from the other parent because they've missed payments.
If the parent getting child support also receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, the state takes a portion of his or her monthly support.
In divorce cases, parents can request a jury trial to decide child support. The jury decides whether the guideline award, calculated with the state's formula, is appropriate. Jury trials are rare because of the extra time and costs they involve.
Typically, the parent with less custody time must obtain health insurance for the children. The court can instead order the other parent to pay, if he or she can get coverage at a more reasonable price.
Each parent generally pays half of large costs not covered by child support, such as medical procedures paid for out of pocket.
Keeping track of payments and expenses
Whether you're paying or receiving child support, the Custody X Change app can help you keep track of payments and child-related expenses.
Log details of both into your parenting expense tracker, in case you ever need to return to court. You can upload attachments, add notes and print reports for a judge or the other parent.