Once custody and visitation are established, child support is calculated, and either party may be ordered to pay child support. Georgia has enacted child support guidelines, which establish the presumptive amount of support to be paid based on the parties gross monthly income and expenses related to the child(ren). Deviation from these guidelines require a specific written finding on the record of the proceeding that the application of the guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust in the particular case. The record must further state what the presumptive amount of support would have been under the guidelines. Justification for deviation from the guidelines include such things as:
- The ages of the children;
- Educational costs;
- A child’s extraordinary medical costs;
- Day-care costs;
- Shared physical custody arrangements;
- A party’s support obligation to another household;
- Income that should be attributed to a party because of that party’s artificial suppression of income;
- In-kind income for the self-employed;
- Other support a party is willing to provide;
- A party’s own extraordinary expenses;
- Extreme economic circumstances;
- Historical spending in the family for children;
- Cost of living factors; and
- Any other factor the court deems to be required by the ends of justice.
The duty of child support continues until the child reaches the age of majority, dies, marries or becomes emancipated, whichever occurs first. The court may, however, under certain circumstances, order the continued support of a child who is enrolled in a secondary school until the child reaches the age of 20.
The court may also order a party to provide medical insurance for the child if such insurance is reasonably available.
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