Georgia Child Support Lawyers

With Family Law Offices in Statesboro and Springfield

You are likely going through a lot of emotions, if you’re worried about what is going to happen with child support. This is not an issue that is dealt with lightly. Child support is long term, and it is reasonable to wonder how this is going to work out. Our Georgia child support lawyers are here to help guide you through this difficult time. Call us today to work through your case.

Georgia Child Support Lawyers

With Family Law Offices in Statesboro and Springfield

You are likely going through a lot of emotions, if you’re worried about what is going to happen with child support. This is not an issue that is dealt with lightly. Child support is long term, and it is reasonable to wonder how this is going to work out. Our Georgia child support lawyers are here to help guide you through this difficult time. Call us today to work through your case.

Georgia Child Support Lawyers

With Family Law Offices in Statesboro and Springfield

You are likely going through a lot of emotions, if you’re worried about what is going to happen with child support. This is not an issue that is dealt with lightly. Child support is long term, and it is reasonable to wonder how this is going to work out. Our Georgia child support lawyers are here to help guide you through this difficult time. Call us today to work through your case.

Testimonials

“You helped me restore my faith in so much that looked bleak and decrepit. Along this bumpy road, my lovely daughter is safe, and home, and starting to find peace again…Thank you. All the pieces unfolded and fell into place through a progression only the Lord could have planned. But the people who fulfilled his plan did it through greatness and kindness and strength. In my opinion you and Martha have done Gods work and the Judge came through! I am indebted to you both. Please understand, I can be a force and support as well. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I still have a long way to go…so I hope that statement is true. My commitment to be there for you is equally strong. It will be a tough journey. I Pray. You guys are amazing. Thank you for everything.”

BONNIE GRINGER

“We were referred to Mike Hall by a friend who told us that if they had used him in the beginning, they would have had a lot better result. Using Mike ourselves, we have had the same experience. Mike is very personable and gave us some very wise council. We could tell he was trying to help us. We have used him for several issues that have come up, and he has always handled them in a professional and timely manner. He is quick to answer emails or phone calls, and takes his time answering all of your questions. We are very pleased with his services and would highly recommend him to anyone who has a legal problem.”

LYNN & PAM KELLEY

“After a two and a half year battle, my son and I got the justice we longed for. The only quality that I didn’t like about Paige was that she was patient. Which, is a very good quality to have. However, hindsight being 20/20, I’m glad she was so patient. Paige and Ashley (her paralegal) were always in communication with me, and responded in a timely and appropriate manner. When opposing counsel started her antics and attempted to berate and take Paige’s eye off the prize, she didn’t allow it. I sincerely appreciate all they did for me and my son. I know my circumstances were extreme, but Paige looked out for the two of us. I highly recommend the law group, and will always be indebted to them.”

DUSTIN SHAW

“This review is in regards to how attorney Martha Hall handled my cases. Before Martha Hall, I was taken advantage of in family court in Jefferson County and Effingham County with sub par attorneys that resulted in rulings that were unfair to me and created headaches and financial difficulties. I experienced three attorneys before Martha Hall. I never felt that I had equal representation in the courthouse, until I discovered Martha Hall. Since I have hired Martha Hall, I have had equal or better representation and my cases have closed with fair rulings. This is solely a result of having Martha Hall as my attorney. I will not change thus moving forward if I need any legal services. She is worth every penny.”

KEN GIBSON

“I just have to say the professionalism and conduct of the Hall and Hall attorneys was fantastic from the time we walked in the door. We met Sarah then Mrs. Martha Hall. They were all very attentive and compassionate. Kara, our paralegal, was always there for us. She was always there via email or phone contact. We had a very sensitive legal case and Mrs. Martha Hall walked us through it with compassion and professionalism. I cannot say enough good things about this group or thank them enough for doing what needed to be done.”

MYA AND DEAN CAPE

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Child Support Details in the State of Georgia

Every single case is going to be based on the details surrounding the parents of the children, including their finances, living situation, best interests of the children, etc. If you want supportive and detailed legal representation, please call our Georgia child support lawyers right away. We will treat you as we would our own families.

How Child Support Works in Georgia

Legally, in Georgia State, each parent has a duty to financially support their children until they are either no longer a minor or have graduated high school. The later date will be the cut off, but it will not go longer than them being 20 years old. Georgia does not make support mandatory once the child is in college or graduate school. However, if both parties come to an agreement that includes support through their years of higher education, that is a possibility. This is legally enforced by courts.

When determining how much child support is going to be owed, several factors are taking into account. The court will look into how much each parent takes in monthly. Using a table, the court will determine what support is going to be owed based on the percentage each parent makes compared against the total of both of their incomes. It’s not always a cut and dry formula. The court is going to be looking at some more factors beside income to see what needs to be adjusted including:

  • Whether there is another child support agreement from another child the parent has
  • How much it costs to cover the health insurance and child care for the children
  • Whether either party is self-employed

Some other adjustments that will be made based on discretion of the court include:

  • How much time the noncustodial parent has with the children
  • If one parent has alimony duties
  • Whether a parent is going to be providing something like a mortgage payment
  • If a parent has extraordinary needs, such as a medical condition with a lot of medical expenses
  • Whether there is going to be a lot of expenses to get the kids to travel to the other parent for visitation or shared custody

Applying for Child Support and Making Modifications

You may be wondering if child support works the same if you were married to the other parent or not. In Georgia, it doesn’t matter if you were married or if this is an unmarried couple going through custody and child support. It works the same.

If either parent experiences a significant increase or decrease in their financially situation, the child support agreement can be officially modified to reflect the new circumstances. This can happen at any time after the first order has been made. After that any second or subsequent modifications cannot happen until two years after the last modification.

You can discuss with your Georgia child support lawyers what would happen if you or the other parent was experiencing financial issues. The jury can deliberate on a modification. It will usually happen with the presence of a judge and jury, and they have the power to temporarily award a party with support or temporarily modify it.

Everything that happens from the beginning to the end is going to be based on circumstance. No two cases are going to be identical. Your lawyer can help you through this.

Child Support is Enforced in Georgia

Please note that in Georgia, if a parent is ordered to pay child support, then that is going to be enforced through the child support agreement until the child ages out. The parents cannot change the agreement without the court modifying it. It also does not end if the child moves in with the other parent. If there are late payments, you are going to owe them no matter how long ago they were unpaid, and there will be interest applied to this payment.

Frequently Asked Child Support Questions

Do I have to pay child support if my child refuses to see me Do I have to pay child support if my child refuses to see me?

Last week, I had a very tough conversation with one of my clients about the fact that his children did not want to visit with him. There was an agreement or court order for child visitation, but the children don’t want to actually exercise it. Unfortunately, that happens sometimes. In Georgia, child support and visitation are completely unrelated. What that means is if your children don’t want to visit with you, you still have to pay child support for those children. On the other side, if you’re not paying child support because you can’t, you’re unable to, or you missed a month of child support because of circumstances maybe out of your control, the other parent can’t withhold visitation based on your failure to pay.

It goes both ways and, if your children don’t want to visit you, unfortunately, it means that you’re not getting the benefit of parenthood, but you still have all the financial obligations and child support obligations to those children under Georgia law and also by any court order that may have been entered into your case. If your children want to visit and the other parent is keeping them from visiting, that may allow us to go in front of a judge, but, in the meantime, you still have to pay that child support obligation and make sure your kids are taken care of. If the other parent is withholding visitation because of your failure to pay, we can also help with those situations; ultimately, however, we’re going to direct you to continue paying child support as ordered, and we’ll work to fight for your visitation back at any kind of trial that may be set, but you are not allowed to suspend your child support obligations based on a failure to visit.

If you have any questions about your circumstance, or if you think that your circumstances may be different, then we can walk through those and we can look at Georgia law to see if there’s any way that your obligation can be suspended. Ultimately, we would need for you to come into the office and look at the facts of your case and make sure that we’re directing you in the right way.

Do me and my ex have to split college costs for our children?

Recently, I received a telephone call from a client of mine, very concerned, as his child had just graduated and was moving towards their freshman year, whether he was going to be obligated to pay some of those college expenses. The short answer is no. In Georgia, child support cannot be ordered against somebody after the age of the majority. Remember, in Georgia, child support can continue past their 18th birthday if they’re still in school, but once they graduate high school, then you’re off the hook. In Georgia, you cannot be obligated for college expenses unless you have entered into an agreement with your spouse to do so. During a divorce consultation, we would talk with you, especially if you’ve got any children that are reaching the age of majority, about how you want to handle college expenses.

Ultimately, I do have some clients who agree to pay for college expenses for their children. My advice would be to come in and let me look at your particular case. For most people, I would encourage you not to obligate yourself through a contract to keep up with those expenses after your child has reached the age of majority. Those expenses and obligations cannot be modified by the court. They don’t have the jurisdiction to modify, if you lose your job or become disabled, so, if you agree to cover those college expenses for your child, you will, for all purposes, forever be obligated to do that, regardless of what happens to your job situation, your health, or any other factors that may come along.

Ultimately, Georgia law does not force you to meet those obligations after your child has reached the age of majority, and Georgia law also does not permit a judge to modify those if you’ve taken those on voluntarily. It’s a very critical issue for you during your divorce proceedings to look at your facts and circumstances, your children and whether they’re going to be going off to college and incurring those expenses. Really give that careful consideration before you ever obligate yourself to something that a judge cannot modify later down the road.

Please feel free to give us a call if those are some concerns that you’re having as your children reach the age of majority, and we’ll be more than happy to walk through your case and decide with you whether that’s something that you should do voluntarily or not.

How do I collect back child support?

I got a call the other day from a lady who had not received child support in years, and, of course, her children were in need. They’re in high school now, and there are a lot of expenses that come along with that. She needed help trying to collect that child support obligation. We were able to file a contempt action, which is normally the course that you would go to get your back child support paid and collect on those funds. We were able to file that contempt, get access to their current employer records that showed us how much he was making at that time, and we were able to set up a payment plan and get that arranged with the trial judge so that she could start getting those arrearages collected. She was also able to modify the child support obligation to match their current incomes and be collecting that arrearage as it went along.

If you have any questions about past child support obligations that maybe someone is not paying you, or maybe you owe past child support and you need to set up a payment plan to make sure that your children are taken care of, just call our office and we can set you an appointment to come in and speak with me about what we can do with your particular case.

How do you modify child support payments How do you modify child support payments?

A few weeks ago, I had a call from a past client who had previously been through a divorce and had a child support obligation but really felt that that child support obligation was unfair based on the current situation. Unfortunately, he had experienced a change of employment and his income was reduced significantly, and he could no longer afford his child support obligation. We were able to file a modification in that case. Georgia allows for you to file a modification anytime there’s a significant reduction or increase in the other party’s income or in your income. You can modify your child support obligation, also, every two years in Georgia. Even without a show of changes in financial circumstances, you can do that.

Another way to modify child support would be if you had a change of custody. Maybe your children came to live with you, and that was different than what happened in your prior divorce or custody case, and your child support needs to be modified so it would match what you’re doing with your children in your custody arrangement. In order to modify that support, you, of course, have to file a petition with the court, the judge will have to sign off on any kind of modification of child support, and you would be able to get access to the other party’s records to make sure that it is an accurate calculation. You would also be expected to give over your income records to show details about what your new custody schedule may be, and the court is going to sign off to make sure that your new child support obligation is going to match the calculator and the law in Georgia for any child support.

If you have a question about modifying your child support or having the other party’s modification of child support filed, so that you can increase or decrease any kind of obligation, please give our office a call. We can set you an appointment and talk to you about what your options are if you’d like to modify your child support.

How does payment for extracurricular activities work with child support?

Oftentimes, in initial consultations, we are approached by potential clients or existing clients that say, “What happens if my children are in extracurricular activities? How am I supposed to pay for that?” Oftentimes, during the course of the litigation, we are able to reach an agreement with the other parent, and the parents agree that these activities are appropriate for the children. In Georgia, the extracurricular activities are not included on the child support worksheet, and, oftentimes, the court is going to have to determine whether those expenses are appropriate or not. We would walk with you through what types of activities your children are involved in – whether that’s Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, after school school-related sports that may not cost as much – and the court is going to look at whether those activities are appropriate and how expensive they are and determine what would be a fair resolution to pay for those expenses outside of child support.

If you’ve got more expensive activities, such as travel baseball or competition cheerleading, then it may be a different story. The judge may look at the financial abilities of each parent to pay for those activities, the judge may ask the other parent whether they’re even agreeable to the children participating in those things, and then the judge is going to determine whether those expenses should be handled without one party or the other or whether they should be split. Ultimately, in Georgia, those expenses are not part of the court-mandated set child support guidelines. However, if we bring it to the attention of either a judge in a trial or a mediator during a mediation, we’re going to address those expenses and make sure that you have clear direction on how you’re going to handle those and who’s going to pay for those throughout both during the litigation and then after the divorce is completed.

If you have any questions about the types of activities your children are in or whether they’re likely to be paid for through the divorce and by the other side, please give us a call. We’ll sit down and walk through all those factors and advise you on how I think a court would actually handle those expenses in any divorce proceeding.

How long do I have to pay child support?

Oftentimes, clients have reached out to me to ask how long their child support obligation is going to last. It’s a very important question, especially when you’re trying to plan your financial future. You need to know how often and how long this obligation is going to be there for you. In Georgia, child support is set up by statute, so there’s not a lot a court can do to tweak shortening the time or lengthening the time; it’s set by Georgia law. In Georgia, child support lasts until a child turns 18, marries, graduates high school – whatever comes first. If they’re emancipated and they’re legally an adult at that time, you’re no longer obligated to support that child.

It’s a little bit different if they’re still in a secondary school, which is high school. If your child is still enrolled in high school and they’re 18 years old, you would still be obligated to support them financially until they graduate high school. The court does cap that, just so that your child is not in high school for too long and still receiving child support. If they reach the age of 20, then your child support obligation would be suspended, even if they were still in high school, which gives you some protection.

If you have any questions about the age of your children or any child support obligations that you may already have, or may need modified or suspended, please give our office a call. We’ll look at any past child support obligations, the ones you have now, and look going forward to see when those obligations may be suspended.

What can I do if my ex is not paying the court ordered child support What can I do if my ex is not paying the court ordered child support?

The other day a client was in our office. They were very concerned because we had already been to court for a temporary hearing and child support was awarded to her, however, the other party was not paying. In that circumstance, we can always approach the court and say, “This person is not doing what you told him to do.” At the time of a divorce action, if you’ve been to court and a judge has told that party to do something, you can request a hearing and file a motion with the court outlining that they’re not doing what they were told to do, and the judge would schedule a hearing pretty quickly on that issue.

If that’s happening after your divorce or your prior custody case is already completed, in Georgia, you would have to file a petition or a motion for contempt to hold that party accountable under any prior court order. That would be a new case, as far as a new case number, but you would have the same judge, if that judge is still on the bench, that you had before, and that judge is going to want to enforce their prior order. In that case, it may end in a payment plan, if there are unpaid child support arrears, or it may end in incarceration, if someone is not able or willing to pay child support, or they don’t show up to court, or they don’t cooperate with our requests to see their pay stubs or get information from them.

Contempt actions can have high consequences, so someone could either have a payment plan or could be incarcerated, and it wouldn’t just depend on how much is owed and how long it’s been since they’ve complied with the court’s order. Our judges, especially in our circuit, especially here in Georgia, want you to follow their orders, and they’re going to enforce those. If we have to file a contempt action in order to get child support, under the prior order, the court is going to take into consideration any special circumstances that you have, such as if the spouse left the state or refused to pay, or there are any text messages or recordings that show that they’re doing it on purpose. The courts is going to take the facts and circumstances of your case and, on that sliding scale of repayment versus incarceration, will choose how your case is going to be finalized in any contempt action.

If you have any questions about how to calculate any past due child support amounts or how the judge might handle your facts and circumstances, whether it would be a repayment action or an incarceration action, call us. We’ll make you an appointment, bring you in, and we’ll determine whether we think you should pursue a contempt action or whether any other options would be available to you.

What does the court consider for child support?

The other day I was talking to a new consultation, and they wanted to know how child support is set in Georgia. Luckily for us, as attorneys, Georgia law outlines specifically what factors may be considered. It’s a long list of things, the biggest of which is your gross income – that means what you’re paid before you bring home the money and before taxes and retirement contributions. It really is the large number at the top of your pay stub. Oftentimes, clients are not happy with that scenario because you feel that what you’re putting in your pocket is all that you can afford to pay out. Unfortunately, Georgia does not consider retirement contributions or any of your other charitable giving to come off of the child support number. It’s calculated with your gross income, it considers the other party’s gross income to level things out, and then it’s going to give us our presumptive child support number.

There’s a calculator that’s released by Georgia law. We use that calculator in every initial consultation. If you know your other party’s or your spouse’s income, that helps with us giving you a better accurate description of what your child support obligation may be, but then we look at other special factors that the law can consider, such as if you have health insurance on your children. That’s a big factor. You’re going to get not a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your child support obligation, but you are going to get some reduction. You can also see reductions for daycare expenses that you may cover – that’s a big one – and also any extraordinary expenses that maybe come up. If your child has special needs, special medical needs that have to be addressed, and you cover all those expenses, that may factor into your child support. Those types of things are a little less prominent here. Most of the time, people have daycare or health insurance premiums and their income, and that’s really the only three factors the court considers.

At the end, when you get your presumptive amount of child support based on those factors, the judge can do an upward or downward deviation if for any reason the child support is determined not to be in the best interest of your child, such as if you have a spouse who maybe makes a lot of money. The child support calculator is capped at a certain amount, but the court may decide that the child support should be increased because of their extremely high income, or the court may consider the child’s involvement in special extracurricular activities or other things that maybe are not so common around every child in Georgia.

The child support obligation can always be adjusted at the very end at trial, and we would help look at those facts and circumstances of your case to determine whether the judge would go with the presumptive amount or whether there may be an upward or downward deviation. If you have any questions about a current or past child support obligation that maybe you want to be recalculated, or if you’re going through a divorce case and you want us to tell you whether the child support is going to be something you can handle or not, please give us a call. Come in for a meeting and we’ll look and see, with your financial circumstances, what your obligation may be.

Will I be able to reduce my child support obligation if the child changes residency or comes to live with me Will I be able to reduce my child support obligation if the child changes residency or comes to live with me?

I received a call the other day from one of our past clients who wanted to know whether he could change his child support obligation because his child was planning to come live with him. Over the summer, the parties had agreed that the child was going to move in with the father and stay there, so, of course, he did not want to be paying child support while the child was living there. That is a major change of circumstance, and, in Georgia, that’s one of the things you can file a modification on, is a change of custody. Any time that the child comes to live with you, I would encourage that you would file a modification because, if you don’t, the child support obligation is going to remain as the prior court order outlined it.

If the child is now living with you, there is no automatic modification or approval that your child support obligation would be terminated, so you would want to file a petition for a modification of child support. In Georgia, we would present evidence in front of one of our judges that would tell the judge that you’ve swapped custody, and the child is living with you, and also present evidence as to the incomes of both parties. In Georgia, both of the party’s gross incomes and any of their major expenses, such as insurance premiums, daycare costs, or after school expenses would all be considered at the time of trial and the judge would readjust your child support obligation at that time.

In addition to your child support obligation, you would want to also modify your child custody arrangement. If the case was where the child was previously with one parent and then moved in with you, we can file those modifications at the same time so that even when the judge is considering child support, he’s also going to consider a change of child custody and outline visitation schedule for the other party at the same time. That saves a little bit of money so you’re not filing two separate court actions at two different times, so any obligation of child support would be modified at the time of custody and visitation modifications actions as well.

If you have any questions about a change of custody or a change of child support based on that change of custody, give us a call and we’ll make you an appointment to come in, and we’ll look at your particular case to make sure that you’re filing the right types of documents, opening the right types of cases, and doing it as cost-effectively as you possibly can.

Call Our Georgia Child Support Lawyers Right Away

If you are worried about what is going to happen with your case of child support, please call our Georgia child support lawyers as soon as possible. This is a very significant matter in your life and we will treat it as such. Hall & Navarro is a law firm with lawyers full of knowledge about child support in Georgia. We have handled many of these cases and want to help you through this. Call us today!