Misunderstanding Child Support

Clients oftentimes believe they should seek joint or even primary physical custody (i.e. who the child will live with after the divorce is finalized) in order to eliminate or reduce the amount of child support they have to pay to their spouse. Clients may feel this way to avoid “paying for” their spouse who left. This perspective reflects a misunderstanding about the nature of child support. Child support is paid to compensate the custodial parent for the children’s portion of food, clothing, and shelter he or she spends to maintain the household. Therefore, from a Court’s perspective Child Support is spent on the children alone.

A statutory “Child Support Worksheet” dictates how much the noncustodial parent must pay the other. The worksheet incorporates, among other things, each parent’s income relative to the other. Nevertheless, there are a few ways to lower child support for the noncustodial parent in the event he or she pays for the child(ren)’s health insurance, extraordinary medical expenses, or childcare expenses. Additionally, if the custodial parent is not working or is willfully under-employed, he or she may be imputed with income as though he or she is employed for the purpose of determining child support.

For these reasons, it is critical for a family law attorney to guide you through your divorce. This information is for general information purposes only. Please contact our Cumming, Georgia law office for specific information tailored to your circumstances.