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  • Child Support in Shared Custody

    It is possible for the custodial parent to pay child support to the non-custodial parent.  A recent ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court confirmed that this highly unusual arrangement was possible under Georgia law.  The ruling also explained how calculations work for child support in shared custody.

    First, in child support in shared custody cases one parent is designated the custodial parent and one parent is designated the non-custodial parent.  If one parent has more parenting time, then that parent is designated the custodial parent.  The other parent is designated the non-custodial parent.  If the parents have equal parenting time, then the parent with less income is designated the custodial parent and the parent with the greater income is designated the non-custodial parent.

    When the parents have equal, or close to equal, parenting time, child support is first calculated in the normal way without regarding to parenting time.  The calculated amount will be the same as if the non-custodial parent visited with the child on alternating weekends, or had no parenting time at all.  Second, the court may then give a deviation from the calculated amount based on the non-custodial parent’s court ordered visitation with the child.  The deviation would reduce the non-custodial parent’s child support in shared custody obligation.

    In the Georgia Supreme Court case, the father had 60% of the parenting time and the mother had 40% of the parenting time. The father is therefore the custodial parent and the mother is the non-custodial parent. Based on the parent’s respective incomes, the calculating amount of child support the mother would pay was $233.00 per month.  Because the mother had 40% percent of the parenting time, the court could allow a parenting time deviation, thereby reducing the mother’s child support obligation.

    In its ruling, the Georgia Supreme Court made clear that the parenting time deviation could exceed the mother’s calculated child support obligation.  In other words, if the mother’s calculated child support obligation was $233.00 per month, the court could allow a $500.00 deviation, which would mean that the father had to pay child support to the mother in the amount of $267.00 per month.

    The judge has broad discretion to make these deviation based on what is feels is best for the child.  Make sure that your financial statement is complete and accurate, so that the judge has reliable information.

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