Many people hold the common misconception that child support is money paid by a father to a mother in order to provide for the costs of caring for their children. While this may often be the case, the actual definition of child support is assistance (usually financial) which is owed by either parent to and for the benefit of the child. This meaning takes into account the responsibility of both parents to the child. A parent cannot waive a child’s right to receive such child support. In fact, the state of Georgia requires parents to provide adequate support for their minor children.
Am I Entitled to Receive Child Support?
Any custodial parent or caretaker of a child can collect regular child support from a parent who should contribute to the needs of that child. A custodial parent is defined as the person having physical custody of the child for more than half of the time.
Under Georgia law, the income of both parents is included in the child support calculation. Under this approach, a court will determine the monthly gross income of both parents and may adjust that amount upward or downward to include various deductions and child-related expenses. The final amount is then allocated between the parents based on their respective incomes. Georgia enacted this standard in January 2007. This new approach allows for the parent with the lower income to pay less of the child’s overall support than the other parent. This could potentially mean that a non-custodial parent may pay less support to the custodial parent depending on the specific circumstances. However, it is also possible for the opposite to be the case.
The amount decided upon will continue to be in effect as long as it is not modified. Child support may last until the child either reaches the age of 18 or 20 if he or she has not graduated high school. Child support will also end if the child dies, marries, or becomes emancipated from the parents regardless of the age of the child.
Can I Be Ordered to Pay Child Support if I Do Not See My Child?
As previously stated, child support is a right of the child and as such it cannot be waived by a parent. Whether a parent spends time with the child or not, for whatever the reason may be, does not waive the right of that child to support. However, a factor that courts will take into consideration when determining the amount of child support to award is parenting time. This allows the court the discretion to reduce the child support amount paid by a non-custodial parent who exercises more than standard visitation with a child.
The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are experienced in all areas of child support. We understand the complexities that involve any case in which children are present. Our team will work to determine a plan that is appropriate for your family and will advocate for your needs.