How to Calculate Child Support Payments in Georgia

Learn how to calculate child support in Georgia, when the amount of support may be different than what’s calculated under the state’s guidelines, and how to apply for, collect, and modify child support.

By , Legal Editor

How to Use the Georgia Child Support Calculator

To calculate the amount of support under Georgia's current child support guidelines, you can use the official Georgia Child Support Calculator from the state's Child Support Commission. You'll need to sign up, create a login, and create a child support worksheet. This worksheet will be one of the forms that you'll submit to the court along with your divorce papers and request for child support (more on that below).

You'll also need to have some basic information on hand before doing the calculations, including both parents' income, what your physical custody (parenting time) arrangements will be, and your expenses for the child's health insurance coverage and work-related child care. If you're still negotiating custody, you might try multiple calculations under different scenarios.

Are Other Child Support Calculators Accurate?

Watch out for other websites with so-called child support calculators for Georgia. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that these calculators are accurate and up-to-date. Georgia updates its child support guidelines regularly, and you usually can't tell whether any of these other websites have kept up with the latest changes.

It's best to stick with the official state calculator to get the most accurate estimate of the amount of child support you may pay or receive. But notice that word "estimate." As we discuss in this article, the judge may order a different amount in your case. Of course, the accuracy of the child support calculation will also depend on the accuracy of the information you provide.

When Support May Deviate From Georgia's Child Support Guideline

Georgia's child support guidelines take into account both parents' income, how many children need support, and the amount of time each parent spends with their children. The state presumes that the amount calculated under the guidelines is appropriate, but you may argue that a different amount would be better in your situation. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount that departs from the guideline or a judge decides for you, the judge will have to find that a strict application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate and that a different amount would be in the child's best interests.

Learn more about how child support works in Georgia, including factors judges must consider when deviating from the guidelines and what gets counted as income when calculating support.

How to Apply for Child Support in Georgia

Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Georgia. You'll include your completed child support worksheets along with the other divorce papers.

If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services from the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) in the Georgia Department of Human Resources. If needed, the DCSS may also help with establishing the child's legal paternity or parentage and locating absent parents.

How to Collect Child Support in Georgia

The Georgia Family Support Registry collects and processes all court-ordered child support payments.

If your child's other parent isn't paying support on time, the Georgia DCSS can help enforce court-ordered child support. Depending on how much the other parent owes, the agency has several enforcement tools, including withholding support from paychecks, reporting the debt to credit bureaus, intercepting income tax refunds, intercepting workers' compensation or unemployment benefits, seizing money from bank accounts, placing liens on property (so the delinquent parent can't sell it or borrow money before paying off the debt), and suspending the parent's driver's or other licenses.

How to Change the Amount of Child Support

Either parent may request a modification in the amount of child support in Georgia. Generally, you'll need to demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent's involuntary job loss.

You may request a review of your current child support order from the Georgia DCSS. However, the review process could take up to six months (or even longer if the other parent lives in another state). You also have the option of filing a request directly with the court. But without DCSS assistance, you should consider speaking with a family lawyer.

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