When two parents divorce and the circumstances are such that child support will be awarded to the custodial parent, a dispute is all but guaranteed to arise. Almost inevitably, the paying parent will lobby for the minimum amount possible, and the receiving parent will believe that a larger sum is necessary.
You may be thinking Georgia child support amounts are based on predetermined calculations and are, therefore, unchangeable. This is not necessarily the case.
A deviation may be awarded for a special expense
It is true that a ‘child support calculator’ is used as a basis for determining the amount of support a parent is eligible to receive. However, it is also true that a judge may alter the amount based on mitigating factors. This is referred to as a deviation.
A deviation may be considered by a judge for childcare expenses that fall outside the spectrum of the normal costs of raising a child. It may be that your child or children are accustomed to certain extra-curricular, enhanced or enriched activities, and there is no reason for children to suffer the loss of these activities because of a divorce.
What activities qualify for a deviation?
The types of activities that may be considered include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Summer camp
- Music lessons
- Art classes
- Opportunities to travel
- School teams/clubs
- Traveling sports teams
In brief, any activities that cater to the cultural, social and/or athletic development of a child may be considered. Even hygiene, food and clothing may be considered, usually depending on the age of the child and the special requirements of that age.
The judge will evaluate the merits of each item claimed as a deviation, and where warranted, will arrive at a figure based in part on the cost of the activity and also on the amount already awarded. The special expense needs to exceed 7 percent of the basic child support obligation amount arrived at using the calculator. Most often when a judge grants a deviation, the amount will be the difference between the actual cost and 7 percent of the support amount.
Gather the tools you’ll need to request a deviation
It may be that your spouse will argue against any deviations you request for maintaining the lifestyle with which your child or children grew up. It will be important to show supporting documentation for costs, a history of participation or proof of requirement.
Legal assistance, especially from someone familiar with the Marietta community and all it has to offer, would be a great asset to any parent requesting a deviation. An attorney experienced with divorce and child support issues can help ensure your children receive the support they require to continue living life as they know it and have the opportunities they deserve.