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Georgia Child Support Guidelines

Child support is financial assistance which is owed by parents to and for the benefit of their children. The state of Georgia requires parents to provide adequate support for their minor children. A parent can't waive a child's right to receive child support.

How to Begin the Child Support Process

To begin the child support process, either parent can fill out the application for child support services by contacting the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services. A parent can apply for child support services online or in person at a local child support office.

Who Can Collect Child Support?

Georgia uses child support guidelines established under Section 19-6-15 of the Georgia Code. Child support guidelines take into account a parent's income, as well as their financial obligations outside of requirements to support their children.

Any custodial parent (person having the child more than half the time) or caretaker of a child can collect regular child support from a parent who should contribute. Once you complete the application process, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Child Support Services will assist you with obtaining initial child support payments, or in the collection of back payments (called arrearages ).

Another way to start the child support process is by hiring a family law attorney or contacting your local legal aid provider. This generally involves a private lawsuit against the other parent.

What Guidelines will the Judge Follow to Determine Child Support?

Georgia uses an "income-sharing" approach to determine the amount of support. Basically, the amount each parent will have to pay in child support will be based upon both the parents' joint incomes, minus any deductions and other financial obligations each parent shoulders. The guidelines are based on Section 19-6-15 of the Georgia Code.

What Does a Court Consider "Income?"

The Court uses a complicated mathematical guideline to determine how much support the non-custodial parent must pay to the custodial parent. First, a judge will determine the gross annual income of both parents and run the numbers through a support calculator.

This is only a guideline and every case is unique and different. A Georgia court can look at salary, interest, trust income, tips, commission, and other sources to determine a parent's income. You have to pay child support even if you receive unemployment benefits, disability benefits, Social Security payments, or worker's compensation payments.

Deviating from Georgia's Child Support Guidelines

The Guidelines are just that: guidelines. A court may increase or decrease the child support order depending on the individual circumstances of both parents and the best interests of the child. Deviations are also addressed within Section 19-6-15 of the Georgia Code. Factors the court looks at include:

  • High Income of the Parents (Combined Income is $30,000 Per Month)
  • Low Income of the Non-Custodial Parent (Earning $1,850 Per Month or Less)
  • Health related insurance
  • Life Insurance (One Parent is Insured and the policy names the child as beneficiary)
  • Child and dependent care tax credit
  • Travel expenses
  • Alimony
  • Mortgage
  • Permanency plan or foster care plan
  • Extraordinary expenses such as medical conditions or education expenses
  • Actual Parenting time

The following table highlights the main provisions of Georgia's Child Support laws. See also Child CustodyChild Support Modifications, and Child Support Enforcement.

Code Section

O.C.G.A. §19-6-15, et seq

Responsible Parties

Both parents

How Support is Calculated

Georgia state guidelines called "Income Shares Model"


Courts uses both parents gross annual income

What is Included in a Support Order

  • Monetary support (food, clothing, & shelter), health insurance, basic education expenses.
  • Might also include child care expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, visitation travel costs, and extracurricular activities.

How Long a Parent Must Pay Child Support

Under the child support guidelines, obligations continue until the child reaches the age of 18, dies, marries, or is emancipated. However, they may also continue if the child is 20 years old and has not graduated from high school. Regardless of whether the child has earned their high school degree, obligations will not continue after the child has reached the age of 20. Consider reviewing the Georgia Child Support Commission's website for more information about child support issues.

Local Child Support Offices

Child Support Office Locator

Learn More About Georgia Child Support Guidelines from a Lawyer

The child support guidelines provided above give a general overview of Georgia's child support laws. If you have questions about your specific situation, or would like help with the process of obtaining child support, it's a good idea to consult with an experienced child support lawyer in Georgia today.

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