Deviations from Child Support
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Child Support Deviations
Although child support determination is basically a formula, Georgia law does allow for deviations from the calculations under some circumstances.
Mandatory Deviations from Child Support: Georgia law requires a court to consider deviations from guideline child support for certain expenses.
Healthcare Insurance Premiums: When one party is paying for health insurance, the child support guidelines allow for that expense to be separated out from the gross income and then it portions out the expense based upon the percentages of each parent’s income to the total family income.
Work Related Childcare Costs: When one party is paying for work-related childcare, the child support guidelines allow for the expense to be separated out from the gross income and then it portions out that expense based upon the percentages of each parent’s income to the total family income.
Non-Mandatory Child Support Deviations
Non-Specific Deviation: Georgia law permits a party to request a deviation for any reason under a “non-specific deviation”. This is simply a catch-all provision acknowledging that sometimes there may be a reason to deviate from guideline child support which is unique to a case’s circumstances. For the court to award a deviation under this category, it must find that the deviation is in the best of the child.
Parenting Time Deviation: When a parent has extended parenting time with a child, it can be appropriate to seek child support above the guideline range. The guideline support expects the non-primary parent will have parenting time or visitation with the child and thus be responsible for child expenses while they are with the child. If the non-primary parent is failing to exercise such visitation or parenting time, the primary parent will incur additional child expenses beyond what is intended under the guidelines and may seek deviation on that basis.
High Income Deviation: In the event a party can show that based upon their high income, the guideline support would call for support payments exceeding the needs of the child, it is permitted to seek a downward deviation. This deviation is not preferred by the courts and is used in extreme cases.
Low Income Deviation: In some cases, a parent may seek a downward deviation in child support based upon low income and an inability to cover their basic needs if required to guideline support. Many clients feel this deviation may apply to their circumstance; however, courts rarely if ever deviate on this basis. Your attorney can discuss the deviation in greater detail as you progress through your case.
Health Related Deviation: This deviation ground can be applied when a child has extraordinary medical expenses that are not contemplated in the child support worksheets.