Who pays Child Support? And how much?
Who pays Child Support?
When the judge awards “child support” it is designed include all payments for the maintenance and education of dependent minor children. The judge can order support to be paid on a temporary basis or in a final order of support at the end of your case.
Your judge determines who pays support (and the amount) by considering the paying spouse’s earnings, income, and other evidence of that spouse’s ability to pay. The judge will also consider the basic subsistence needs of non-paying spouse and the child / children receiving the support. Learn how Custody affects your child support obligation.
How is Child Support calculated?
The basic amount of support a spouse is required to pay is called the “Basic Child Support Obligation” or abbreviated – BCSO.
This amount comes from the Child Support Obligation Table and is based on the number of children and the combined adjusted gross income of both parents.
The Child Support Obligation Table is based on economic data which represents adjusted estimates of average total expenditures for children, excluding childcare and health insurance. Sounds simple – not.
BUT – the BCSO is not the final child support amount
The BCSO is the amount of basic support to be provided by both parents, prior to any adjustments or deviations being made.
The BCSO rarely ends up being the final support amount ordered by the judge. The BCSO amount does not include mandatory adjustments for health insurance premiums and work-related childcare or discretionary deviations.
I work together closely with my clients to make sure they take full advantage of these deductions and deviations – similar to how a good CPA helps you at tax time by finding every legally available deduction to reduce your tax bill.
In Georgia, determining the gross income of each parent is the most important step in calculating support. The gross income of each parent includes all income from any source, whether earned or unearned. If a spouse can hide or understate their income, their child support obligation would be reduced. I don’t let this happen.
Here again, my accounting experience becomes a huge benefit to you. Figuring out a spouse’s gross income can be very tricky and complicated, especially if a spouse is self-employed or owns a business.