Lawrenceville Child Support Lawyer
Child support is designed to protect the best interests of a child and ensure the custodial parent has sufficient income to care for their needs. Crystal Wright Law has helped families in Lawrenceville, GA, with complex legal issues for nearly a decade. Call us at 404-594-2143 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lawrenceville child support lawyer to know how we can assist you.
There may be disagreements over how much support is necessary, but parents generally agree their child deserves financial security. We can help you get the support you need to raise your child.
How Crystal Wright Law Can Help with Child Support in Lawrenceville, GA
Child support is a complex issue. Calculating child support involves many factors and requires more than a simple formula. Our experienced Lawrenceville family law attorney can help ensure that a court order for child support is reasonable — and sufficient to support your child.
Crystal Wright Law can help with your child support case in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in the following important ways:
- Ensure your income information is accurate so the court’s child support order will be adequate
- Assist with identifying and documenting any issues that should be considered when calculating child support
- Help with modifying a child support order or proving a change in circumstances
- Assist with documenting your ex’s hidden income, if any
- Protect your interests during court proceedings
Courts in Georgia use child support guidelines to calculate the proper amount of support. Still, there are many factors that can influence a court to deviate from these guidelines. Crystal Wright Law will help you seek a fair child support order that considers your income and circumstances.
Contact our law office today to schedule a free case review with a child support attorney in Lawrenceville ready to assist you.
Overview of Child Support in Georgia
Georgia courts may order a non-custodial parent to pay child support after a divorce. In other cases, a single parent might seek child support from the other parent. A superior court judge determines whether child support payments are appropriate based on Georgia law. Courts consider the needs of the child and the financial resources of both parents to calculate the support amount.
In Georgia, child support payments generally stop when the child turns 18. In some cases, payments can continue past this age or even end early. In others, support may continue until 20 for secondary education.
Once a court creates a child support order, the Georgia Division of Child Support Services will open a case to track child support payments. DCSS handles the enforcement of child support orders and the collection and disbursement of payments. It also reviews modification petitions.
How Is Child Support Calculated in Lawrenceville, GA?
Georgia uses the Georgia Child Support Calculator, also known as the Child Support Worksheet, to calculate support payments. Both parents enter information about their income, children, and additional relevant details. This creates a presumptive amount of child support. However, this may not be the final child support amount.
The Child Support Worksheet is only a recommendation. A court can deviate from the presumptive amount. This worksheet uses your gross monthly income, which includes wages, salary, disability, tips, self-employment earnings, and more. If you have no income or do not have reliable documentation, the court can calculate a different amount.
What Are Child Support Deviations?
Georgia law recognizes that every family is unique. A court may decide that the amount of presumptive child support is insufficient based on the needs of the child. Alternatively, it may decide that the amount is too high based on the parent’s circumstances. The court accounts for these unique circumstances by using “deviations.”
Deviations are a way to change the presumptive amount upward or downward. There are two types of deviations: mandatory deviations, which must be included in the support calculation, and non-mandatory deviations.
Georgia courts must consider two mandatory deviations in their calculation of child support:
- Work-related child care expenses. These are expenses that are necessary to facilitate education, vocational training, or employment.
- Health insurance premium deviation. In most cases, one parent pays the health insurance premiums for the child. This must be considered.
Depending on the financial circumstances, these deviations can cause the child support payment to be higher or lower.
A court does not have to consider non-mandatory deviations in its child support calculation.
However, a court may adjust the presumptive amount of child support based on factors such as:
- Parenting time. The presumptive amount may be too high or too low, depending on how much time the parent spends with the child.
- High income
- Low income
- Travel expenses. This considers significant travel expenses one parent may incur to exercise court-ordered visitation.
- Life insurance
- Private school
- Mortgage. This considers whether the non-custodial parent pays for the home in which the custodial parent and child live.
- Extraordinary expenses
- Extracurricular activities
The court and/or both parties may decide some of these non-mandatory deviations are appropriate for consideration.
What Happens if a Parent Fails to Pay Child Support in Lawrenceville, Georgia?
If you are having trouble collecting child support for your child, you have several legal options available. Nonpayment of child support is taken very seriously in Georgia. Potential actions can range from a contempt action to wage garnishment and even jail.
Penalties for failing to pay child support in Georgia include:
- Contempt. A court can hold a non-paying parent in contempt for violating its child support order.
- Wage garnishment
- Driver’s license revocation
- Jail time.
However, non-paying parents may have legal defenses. If the non-paying parent can demonstrate they can’t afford the payment, they can avoid serious repercussions. This is why it’s crucial to consult with child support lawyers if you cannot afford payments. A child support order can be modified due to inability to pay.
Can Child Support Be Modified in Georgia?
A party may seek to modify a child support order for a number of reasons. For example, a parent may lose their job or need to relocate. Child support orders which were appropriate in the past may fail to adjust for the party’s life changes. Accordingly, either parent may file a petition to modify child support obligations when necessary.
This petition for modification must show there has been a change in the financial status or income of either spouse. Alternatively, it must show the child’s needs have changed. A change in income must be significant enough to affect your ability to pay. Changes in circumstances must also be long-term.
A child support order can be modified at any time. However, if the order has already been modified, you must usually wait two years for a new modification. There are exceptions to this rule, such as remarriage, involuntary job loss, or a major change in parenting time.
Contact a Lawrenceville Child Support Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Child support is a complex issue in Georgia. You want to be sure that you are well represented when a support amount is determined. At Crystal Wright Law, we represent families in all areas of divorce, child custody, and child support.
We can help you secure a satisfactory amount of child support or seek a child support modification. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Lawrenceville child support lawyer for legal advice.