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What Is Considered “Income” When Calculating Child Support? 

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2023 | Child Support

In a divorce or legal separation involving minor children, parents are often required to establish quality child support arrangements. The support payments will be used to cover the child’s financial needs and pay living expenses. However, there are specific rules addressing child support calculations or how the child support amount is determined. A wise Georgia family law attorney can speak with you about what is considered income when calculating child support.

E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC enjoys providing knowledgeable and experienced guidance to clients in legal matters of family law, including divorce and child support. Attorney Banks-Ware can guide you through the legal steps involved in establishing child support agreements and help you calculate the appropriate amount. The firm proudly serves clients across Lithonia, McDonough, Conyers, Covington, Lawrenceville, and Decatur, Georgia.

How Is Child Support Calculated in Georgia?

Under Georgia law, parents have a legal responsibility to support their children financially. In a marital dissolution case, the Georgia court may order the noncustodial parent to make child support payments to the other parent. This will help cater to the child’s financial needs, general expenses, health care, sports, camp, school tuition, and other extracurricular activities.

What’s more, in Georgia, child support is calculated using the “Income Shares Model.” This model will estimate the overall amount the parents would spend on their child in an ideal or intact family unit. This amount will be divided fairly, depending on the parents’ incomes.

What Is Considered Income for Calculation Purposes?

When calculating child support amounts in Georgia, income (monthly gross income) may include the following:

  • Salary
  • Income from self-employment
  • Prizes
  • Commissions, fees, and tips
  • Dividend income
  • Trust income
  • Overtime pay
  • Bonuses
  • Severance package
  • Military pensions
  • Unemployment insurance benefits

All of these will be used to determine the gross income of both parents. From the monthly gross income, you can make some adjustments and subtract your allowable deductions to get the monthly adjusted gross income.

What If the Parent Is Underemployed/Unemployed?

Unfortunately, some parents may fail to disclose their income, quit a high-paying job, or refuse to get a job to avoid paying child support. In the event that a parent is underemployed or deliberately unemployed, determining child support amounts may require imputing the parent’s income. The Georgia court will consider the factors below when calculating imputed income:

  • The previous income of the parent
  • The assets available to each parent
  • The employment potential of the parent
  • The earning history of the parent
  • The parent’s ability to work
  • Other factors, including the parent’s age, health condition, job skills, literacy, employment barriers, and other background checks

The court will impute the equivalent of what the parent should be earning by working a minimum wage job full time. A dependable lawyer can analyze the surrounding circumstances of your unique situation and help protect your child support rights.

Legal Advocacy When You Need It Most

Establishing a child support agreement in Georgia often involves a lot of complex processes. Evaluating the child’s needs, determining the parents’ income, calculating child support amount, or imputing income when one parent is underemployed or unemployed, can make the whole process even more stressful and time-consuming. Therefore, consulting with a seasoned child support attorney is imperative for clear legal direction and to help you navigate vital decisions.

Attorney Banks-Ware has the diligence and expertise to assist and direct individuals and families through the challenges involved in calculating child support. As your legal team, she can educate you about every last detail involved in establishing or modifying child support arrangements in Georgia. In addition, Noreen Banks-Ware will work diligently with both parents to determine a fair child support amount and resolve other relationship differences peacefully.

Contact E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC today to sit down with a skilled family law attorney. Noreen Banks-Ware has everything necessary to make informed decisions in your child support matters. The firm proudly serves clients across Lithonia, McDonough, Conyers, Covington, Lawrenceville, and Decatur, Georgia.