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HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT CALCULATED?

Updated: Jan 10

To say the least, divorce can be heartbreaking. There are so many emotions people go through when getting a divorce, including shock, sadness, grief, and anger (to name a few). Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining, but it is important to seek out help during this difficult time. I would start by contacting a divorce attorney, family counselor, and a personal therapist. Divorce is hard - make sure you take care of yourself during this challenging time.


Now, let's talk about the other aspects of a divorce. There are many issues that need to be settled in a divorce case, including property division, custody arrangements, child support, and alimony. Child support are payments, made by a noncustodial parent, to support a minor child or children. There are several factors that go into the calculation of child support, such as the number of children and the amount of income earned by each spouse. Each case is different, and if the marital parties cannot agree, a judge will decide the amount of child support for them. Going to court can be very costly. It is more affordable to use an alternative dispute resolution service, such as mediation. Many times, a mediator can help you and your spouse come to an agreement on a child support amount.


As mentioned, one factor that goes into the child support calculation is income of the noncustodial parent. If the noncustodial parent owns a business, determining their actual income for child support calculation purposes can be challenging. Simply using the income reported on their tax returns may not accurately reflect their earnings. One service we perform at Carson Madison is a lifestyle analysis. We look at the spouse’s lifestyle, specifically their spending habits, to determine whether they are under-reporting income. For example, if they are driving a $100,000 car and reporting a $200,000 loss on their business tax return, that is a red flag suggesting they are under reporting income.


The good news is searching the internet is one way to learn more about child support calculations (and what you are or are not entitled to). The bad news is family law is complicated and some of the information you find will be nonsense or non-applicable to your case. A great resource is the amicable divorce network https://amicabledivorcenetwork.com/. Per their website, they are a "group of Georgia attorneys, mediators, psychologists, financial professionals and other professionals with experience in family law who have come together to assist parties seeking a respectful divorce process in Atlanta and North Georgia."


Just a reminder...each state has their own laws regarding the calculation of child support and the information I shared is general in nature. Make sure you speak to an experienced family law attorney about your specific case - @familylawyerga and @familylawga are both family law attorneys in Georgia we recommend. Also, I am a CPA, not an attorney, and this is not intended to be legal advice.


If you are ready to schedule your divorce mediation session, please click this link: https://calendly.com/jennicamoore/divorce-mediation. If you would like more information regarding the mediation process, you may book a consultation at https://calendly.com/jennicamoore/divorce-mediation-consultation.

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