Discussions about who pays child support are relatively new. Previously, people assumed that when a couple divorced, the mother would get custody of the children. This meant that the father would have to pay child support. Today, things aren’t that clear cut and the courts often give fathers primary custody of the children.
That’s because in some families, the husband stays at home with the children while the wife goes out to work. Even if both parents work, sometimes the mother makes more than the father. In such a scenario, it is unlikely that the father would have to pay child support. If you’re going through a divorce or you’re thinking about it, you may want to know more about child custody. Consulting an Albany divorce attorney is the only way to get advice on your circumstances. However, this blog post will help to answer some of your questions.
What Georgia Law Says About Child Support
The Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) §19-6-15 is gender-neutral. Neither parent automatically has the right to custody of the minor children. Rather, child support is awarded based on the amount of time each parent spends with the child and how much they make. The non-custodial parent is usually the one who has to pay child support. This is the parent who has the child for more than 50 percent of the time.
Therefore, a father who has custody of a child is entitled to receive child support from the mother. If both parents spend equal amounts of time with the child, the court decides who will be considered the custodial parent. In such a case, the mother could be the one who has to pay child support.
Judges in Georgia have lots of discretion when it comes to granting custody and visitation rights. They make their decisions based on what they believe is in the best interest of the child. In some cases, it’s easy to make a decision. One parent may live in unsuitable circumstances or they may have a substance abuse problem. The situation gets more complicated when both parents are fit. Working with an Albany divorce lawyer will help to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
While judges have the discretion to decide who will pay child support, the amount is calculated based on a formula. Some of the variables that come into play include:
- The parents combined income
- The number of children involved
- The amount of their income that each parent contributes
If there are special costs associated with raising the child, the judge may order additional support. Special expenses can include medical, educational, and extracurricular fees.
What Happens if The Non-Custodial Parent Doesn’t Pay Child Support?
If a parent is ordered to pay child support and they don’t, they will face enforcement action. This can take several forms. The parent may be held in contempt of court or the payments may be deducted from their income. Other options include:
- Withholding unemployment benefits
- Revoking or suspending their driver’s license
- Seizing their bank account
- Intercepting their lottery winnings or tax refunds
- Filing liens against their property
Can Child Support Arrangements Be Modified?
Sometimes parents fight about the terms of their divorce because they believe the arrangements are permanent. However, the law allows for modifications in both child custody and child support. If there has been a substantial change in a parent’s circumstances, they can apply for a change in custody arrangements. A parent can request a modification in child support if there’s a significant change in their income or the child’s needs. You can request the first modification at any time. However, subsequent modifications are usually only allowed once every two years.
Contact a Joe Durham Jr., P.C for Assistance Today
Whether you’re a father or a mother, you can benefit from legal advice on your divorce. Women can and do pay child support and fathers can and do get custody. Therefore, as a father, you shouldn’t assume that you will automatically have to pay child support. Similarly, women shouldn’t assume that they will automatically get custody. Under Georgia law, the non-custodial parent pays child support regardless of their gender.
If you have questions or concerns about child support, reach out to our Albany, GA divorce law firm, Joe Durham Jr., P.C. We’ll help you to ensure that your rights are protected and that the interest of the child comes first. Call us today to schedule a consultation.