Answer: Georgia child support guidelines take into account the ability of both parties to pay based upon their earned income. Now, in a lot of situations, one party or another hasn’t been working in a while, and in those cases the court has an ability to impute income based upon earning history and capacity of one party or another to contribute to the needs of the child.
A lot of times, one party or another may have been out of the workforce for a while, but have an ability to earn money still. And let’s say that you’re a husband and you want to show that your wife has an ability to go get a job similar to that earning capacity. A lot of times that might require a detailed analysis of her previous earning capacity, and the court can, of course, look to how long she has been out of the work force in consideration of that imputed income.
The parties may work with a general child support guideline, but the court has the ability to deviate from that guideline. There are a number of specific and non-specific deviations, and those include whether or not one party or another has more than standard visitation. A lot of times there’s an allowance made for dads that might take on more than a non-custodial every-other-weekend sort of role. So, that might lead to less child support for that parent, because they are assuming more time with the child and the court will then assume that they are accounting for more resources on a day-to-day basis for the needs of that child.
The court can also consider the special needs and interests of the children and other expenses that might arise when calculating a child support guideline. And, of course, there are needs that are day-to-day needs like childcare; in some cases a nanny might be necessary, in some cases daycare might be adequate to meet the needs of the children, and in other cases there’s not a need for daycare or for other special arrangements to be made. So, the court will weigh all of the arguments about whether or not these are necessary and reasonable expenses and then make a decision going forward about how to account for those inside the child support guidelines. Again, they have broad latitude to work with in the guideline; whether through specific or non-specific deviation, to come up with a guideline that meets the needs of the children.