It doesn’t take that long to fill out the Excel worksheet used to determine child support. The bigger challenge is getting the correct data to put into the worksheet, so of course you’re going to have to have gross incomes of both parties. If one party is self-employed, you’re going to have to have their personal and their corporate taxes and there’s a whole separate table for self-employment income that is a part of the Excel worksheet.
You’re going to need daycare costs, summer camp costs and extra-curricular activities costs. You’re also going to have to have the amount that the children’s health insurance cost the parent who’s carrying health insurance, and that can get kind of tricky because if the cost for the children is a lot of times separate from the total cost of what the family coverage is.
If you’re in a situation where, let’s say, somebody has health insurance through their employment and if they have the type of policy where the employee pays the premium but everybody else in the family is free, then that means that the cost of the children’s health insurance is zero and that parent cannot get any credit for providing insurance for the children.
At What Point in the Divorce is Child Support Determined?
It depends on what the particulars are of the divorce case. When somebody files for divorce in Georgia, the other party is served with the action and then the case can be set for a temporary hearing. The reason that you want a temporary hearing in a lot of cases is because you need to move the couple from marriage towards separation and eventually divorce and it’s a process that can take a while. While that is occurring, particularly through the legal process, there needs to be some way to address the rights and obligations and duties of both parents.
Custody needs to be decided on the temporary basis, child support and sometimes alimony as well, those are all issues that can be dealt with at a temporary hearing. The reason that you want an order addressing these issues is that you need some type of legal structure to govern everybody’s rights and responsibilities while the divorce is pending. The landscape can change somewhat at a final hearing where again; child support custody and alimony can be addressed as well.
Sometimes the judge might do the same thing at a final that he or she does on a temporary basis but that is not always the case and in fact, a lot of times, judges do things differently on a temporary basis simply because what they’re wanting to do at that point is to make things statuesque as much as possible as far as making sure bills get paid and there’s not too much of a shake up for the children while the divorce is going on.
Usually whoever the court grants temporary custody to will also get the marital home on a temporary basis because statuesque is the way that judges like to keep things as much as possible while still moving the couple towards the legal realities of a divorce eventually.
How is Child Support Typically Enforced?
In order to enforce child support, you have to get an order of child support first. When you go to court, this is taking place in the context of a divorce, you go to court and you have a temporary hearing and the judge says, “I’m going to order child support for the non-custodial parent in the amount of $600 a month beginning June 1st, 2015 and continuing each month until we have a final hearing.” If the judge issues an order that says that, then the person that’s supposed to pay it better do it or they can be held in contempt.
Sometimes, people actually have a good reason for not paying, maybe they’re self-employed and their business is not doing well; that can affect their ability to make monthly payments. Sometimes people get laid off, something of that nature, and it really can be something that is beyond the payer’s ability to pay. If that is the case, then what they need to do is if it’s something that’s going to be ongoing for a while, then they might want to see if they can modify their child support.
How Does Child Support Work for Foster or Adoptive Parents?
Foster parents receive a grant through the state for taking care of children in their home, so they’re actually paid by the state. Adopted children really don’t receive child support because when they’re adopted by parents that are biologically not theirs, then the adopting parents assume all legal responsibility for the adopted children.
In a typical type of adoption case where the husband and wife divorce and the wife gets remarried and she wants her new spouse to adopt the child from the first marriage and the father might agree, “Yes, I’ll terminate my parental right and let the new husband adopt the child”, when the biological father does that, then he is being relieved of all future child support.
If he owes anything up to that point, then he still has to pay it up until the time he terminates his rights but once he terminates his rights, the child support obligation terminates also and that adopting father assumes all of the rights to the child as a parent but also assumes financial responsibility for the child.
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