Understanding Child Support and Potential Payment Exceptions

Child support is an essential safety net to provide for the well-being of minors. Designed as a way to ensure the contributing financial responsibility from both parents, child support intends to provide for the basic needs of a child up until the age of 18 or until a particular qualifying life event, such as high school graduation or marriage.

Child Support in Detail

When a child’s home life is divided between two parents living separately, one parent will be defined as the custodial parent, which means that they will have primary custody of the child for most of the time. While this is generally the mother, it’s not always the case.

A non-custodial parent is one who doesn’t have physical custody of the child, but they still may have legal custody. This role is often that of the father’s, but again, not always.

Typically, the non-custodial parent will provide child support in the form of regular payments to the custodial parent to split the financial responsibility of raising and taking care of the child. The financial figure associated with child support is determined by each parent’s income, and it’s very possible child support payments can be garnished from the non-custodial parent’s wages.

Child support payments are solely to be used for the child’s benefit and not the discretionary spending of the custodial parent. Examples of applicable uses for child support funds include:

  • Mortgage
  • Rent or utilities of the child’s home
  • Food and clothing for the child
  • The child’s medical expenses
  • Any school expenses and costs associated with the child’s extracurricular activities (like sports)

Child support specificities vary depending on the state, so it is a good idea to research your state’s details on child support.
Understanding Child Support

Possible Child Support Payment Exceptions

The figures for child support are determined by the incomes of each parent in conjunction with the child’s expenses. However, there are some scenarios where a judge may grant child support payment exceptions, and the payment can be altered.

While these are not the norm, they do occur. So let’s take a closer look at some of these exceptions.

Educational/Daycare Expenses

If a child has higher education costs than usual, say due to private school attendance, this can result in a deviation from the typical child support payment structure. This is equally applicable with regard to daycare expenses.

Outside of the public system, these areas can be costly beyond the typical expenses associated with raising a child.

Extreme Economic Circumstances

If one party undergoes significant financial hardship, a judge may grant an exception to the standard child support payments until that party has arrived upon steadier ground.

Shared Physical Custody Arrangement

When each parent has physical custody of the child — for instance, when the child lives half of the time with one parent and half of the time with the other — a child support payment exception may be granted. This is because each parent has their own set of expenses providing for the child, such as rent/mortgage, utilities and food. Therefore, a reduction in the typical child support payment may be reasonable to allow for fairly shared financial responsibility.

Extraordinary Expenses to Maintain a Particular Lifestyle

If one party maintains a lifestyle far in excess of the realm of safety and comfortability — for instance, the custodial parent has a wealthy, upper-class lifestyle — the judge may make an exception for child support payments. This would be in consideration that the child’s needs and well-being are more than safely met.

Additional Support One Party Is Willing to Provide

If one of the parties wants to provide more than the typical child support allotment, the judge can grant an exception for this additional provision.

Financial Hardship Due to a Child’s Extensive Medical Costs

In the event that the child has a significant medical experience and costs are beyond that of typical, an exception may be granted to cover these medical expenditures in a more balanced fashion.

Beyond these, there are other scenarios where a child support payment exception can occur. These include one party having a hidden income, one party having support obligations to a different household and unique cost of living factors.

Understand Your Situation

Every situation is unique with regard to child support. Many factors, including state of residence, income, and expenses, help determine the child support figure and any possible exceptions. Platt Family Law is here to help you every step of the way. To schedule a consultation, call us at (404) 255-3434 or fill out the quick contact form on our website.

Rachel Platt

Rachel Platt

Founding attorney, Rachel Platt, is a highly respected attorney among her peers and clients. Since 2014, Ms. Platt has been selected as a Georgia Super Lawyers in the field of family law. Additionally since 2018, Georgia Super Lawyers named her to the Top 100 Attorneys and to the Top 50 Women Attorneys for the State of Georgia. Previously, Ms. Platt was an honoree on the Georgia Rising Star list in the field of family law from 2010-2013, voted by her peers as one of the best young lawyers in the state. She has also been recognized as one of Georgia’s Legal Elite in 2009, 2012, 2016, 2018 and 2019 in the area of family law by Georgia Trend magazine. Ms. Platt also currently holds a “Superb” rating on avvo.com.Ms. Platt has been practicing law for the last 18 years and is currently concentrates her legal practice in the areas of family law and special education law, and as outlined below, she frequently lectures on both topics.

Leave a Comment