If you are familiar with working up child support figures or if you're interested in learning how to do it, you should be aware that there are substantial changes that take effect July 1, 2017.
For a quick peek, here’s a summary of the four changes:
- The final judgment shall have attached to it the child support worksheet and any schedules used to calculate the support amount. In other words, always include the worksheet and schedules used – no skipping.
- Multiple worksheets may now be filed at the same time to account for when older children age out. Three kids? Three worksheets with child support amounts calculated for only the eligible kids in the home. As they age out, the family can employ the appropriate worksheet amount. This will help families from having to modify the support amount as their kids turn into theoretical self-supporting adults. However, it does not prevent people from modifying for other substantial changes, if they so wish.
- Currently, a parenting time deviation can only be made downward to account for the non-custodial parent who has the children half or nearly half of the time. Now, the deviation may also be made upward if the non-custodial parent spends no time with the children and the custodial parent therefore ends up bearing all the cost of raising the children.
- Work-related child care expenses may now be taken out of the worksheet when the costs are variable. This change is my favorite because child care costs are ALWAYS variable. The need for baby daycare becomes the need for elementary-age after-school care. Then, later, after-school care becomes no paid care because they’re old enough to be home alone, for example. During mediation, I would ask the parents if they want to the child care expenses, whatever they are, to be considered in their agreement and if so at what percentage for each parent. 50%-50% or based on their pro rata share of income, perhaps?
Also, the Georgia Commission on Child Support will not be updating the Excel-based child support calculator any longer and encourages everyone to use the new online calculator. It can be found here. Among other new features, the online calculator can be used on smart phones and tablets. Handy!
Big thanks to the staff of the Child Support Commission for their work on this and for always being available for questions. Here’s their website for more information: http://csc.georgiacourts.gov.