*”Although GACSR was the spearhead to passage of HB 221 (2006 session); the end result is the work of GA legislators. After consultation with various committees, legislators, our own attorneys, and other well informed individuals, we have compiled answers below to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you are not satisfied with those answers, and willing to take personal responsibility that those interpretations are correct, we suggest that you consult with your attorney.”

Frequently Asked Questions

1) “If my child lives with me for more than 50% of the year, does this mean custody will automatically change to me under GA SB 382 (effective 2007)?”

Answer: No. The definitions used in the child support bill (law) are for purposes of calculating child support. If each parent spends exactly 50% of the time with the child, then the parent who owes child support will be considered the non-custodial parent.

2) “My child support amount is going to be cut by more that 40%, how am I going to be able to budget for this drastic cut in child support?”

Answer: The judge has the discretion to phase in the new child support amount over one year. Also, remember that the amount of child is not necessarily changing, but the amount each parent is responsible for…will be calculated differently under the new law.

3) “Will my ex’s income be included in the calculation? What if I don’t know what their income is?”

Answer: Yes, it’s now mandatory to include both incomes when computing child support. If you are unsure of your ex’s income, than their financial records can be subpoenaed through a court-order. *We recommend hiring an attorney to help process these documents.

4) “What if my ex won’t allow me to see my child even though I have a court-order for visitation?”

Answer: You are still required to pay child support. Please do not STOP paying child support. Contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you are in Fulton County, you can contact the Family Division at www.fultonfamilydivision.com for further education.

5) “Why should a parent receive a credit for spending time with their child?”

Answer: When a child is NOT in the custodial parent’s home, the custodial parent’s expenses decrease. The custodial parent should not receive the full amount of child support when the other parent is spending a significant amount of time with their child. A “credit” ensures that child support is distributed fairly. Child support is for the child, and when the child is in the “non-custodial” parent’s home, a portion of that support should be spent on the child during that time.

The parenting credit portion of SB 382 (2006) was removed due to a “deal” made with Governor Sonny Perdue. In exchange for the removal of the parenting time adjustment, a commission was developed to further study parenting time so that recommendations can be made for the 2007 legislative session.

6) “I have a child with a man who pays child support. Will our child be considered when his child support is calculated?”

Answer: The judge will have the discretion
whether or not to include any children for whom your spouse has a legal
obligation to support. Under the new guidelines, a theoretical order (a “fake” child support award) could be calculated and then a portion of the theoretical child support amount MAY subtracted from the father’s gross income.

7) “Could my new spouse’s income be used to calculate my child support?”

Answer: The only time a new spouse’s income can be used is when it is necessary to calculate a theoretical order, but never when determing support for a child they are not legally obligated to support.

8) “When does SB 382 go into effect?”

Answer: The new guidelines will go into effect January 1, 2007.

9) “What was the difference between our old law and the new one?”

Answer: A world of difference! Our state, starting January 2007, will use an “income shares” model when determining child support. Meaning…BOTH parents’ income are considered when determining child support. It is no longer JUST a flat percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income plus extra expenses. Although the new law is not perfect, its an improvement from our old guidelines. If you never suffered under the “% of obligor only” system, consider yourself BLESSED.

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