Experienced Child Support Attorneys in Gainesville GA and Braselton, GA
In Georgia, both parents are legally responsible for the care and support of their children. When parents are no longer together, the court may establish periodic child support payments, which serve as the non-custodial parent’s contribution toward the children’s expenses.
The legal obligation to pay child support is often established amid the turmoil and conflict of a divorce or paternity proceedings. McLeod Law Firm, P.C. has been representing parents in both divorce and paternity actions for many years. We can help you determine your rights and make sure that you are treated fairly when it comes to the issue of child support.
Child support can be confusing, so we have provided additional information below to answer some common questions we receive.
What is a Paternity Proceeding?
A paternity proceeding is a legal process to legally establish the identity of a child’s father. If the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, then paternity generally is not an issue. Paternity needs to be established for unmarried couples so the child can enjoy the same rights as a child born to married parents, such as the right to inheritance and support. Establishing paternity is the first step to being able to seek a court order for custody and/or visitation and to have a say in certain legal decisions. Once the court establishes paternity, it will establish a child support order.
How is the Child Support Amount Calculated?
In Georgia, the child support amount is calculated using statutory guidelines based on timeshare of the child, shared income of the parties, and other child-related expenses. A court may deviate “from the presumptive amount when special circumstances make the presumptive amount of child support excessive or inadequate.” OCGA § 19-6-15 (i) (2) (K).
If the incomes of the parents differ substantially, a parent may be obligated to pay support even if the parent has joint physical custody. While expenses such as childcare, health insurance, and other certain expenses for the children are considered, the parent’s other expenses, such as living costs (i.e. rent, utilities, etc.) are not considered by the court.
We can help you consider the specific facts of your situation and advise you on what the court will look at when making an award of support. We can help ensure your child support is calculated fairly and accurately.
How is a Child Support Order enforced?
Past-due child support can be collected several different ways, including by filing an action for contempt or a garnishment action. If you have not received the child support you are owed, you may need to take legal action to enforce or collect on overdue child support payments. We can talk to you about your specific situation and advise you on the best way to collect your past-due child support.
Can a Child Support Order be modified?
If you are having difficulty making your payments, it is important to take immediate action. If you have a legitimate basis for a modification, such as a significant change in custody arrangements or loss of your job, arrearages may accrue based on a calculation that is no longer appropriate. This may mean that you end up obligated to pay more than you should. The obligation to pay child support is taken very seriously. Failure to pay can land you in jail, or result in the suspension of your driver’s license. If owe past-due child support, contact us today to speak to us about your child support order.