If you have a child, Georgia expects you to financially support them regardless of your relationship with the child’s other parent. Therefore, most non-custodial parents pay child support to the custodial parent. That is the case even though the parents share 50-50 custody of the child.
What Is 50-50 Custody in Douglasville, GA?
Custody laws in Douglasville do not favor the mother or the father. Custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child. Georgia courts begin with the presumption of joint custody.
A child is believed to benefit from having both parents remain active in their lives. Joint custody can facilitate a close relationship with each parent. However, judges can grant sole custody if they decide it is in the best interest of the child.
With a 50-50 custody arrangement, each parent has the right to make legal decisions for their child. Legal custody allows a parent to decide issues related to religious upbringing, education, medical care, and extra-curricular activities. The parents work out a schedule for the parenting time with the child.
However, the child typically resides with one parent most of the time. That parent is the custodial parent. It would be too disruptive for most children to change homes every other week unless the parents live in the same school district.
Since the amount of time spent with each parent is a factor in child support calculations, the parent without primary physical custody usually pays the other parent support payments. That is the case even though the court order awards the parents joint physical custody.
How Does Georgia Calculate Child Support Payments for 50-50 Custody in Douglasville?
Child support and child custody are separate issues in a divorce or family court action. The judge decides the best custody arrangement for the child, and then child support payments are calculated based on the Georgia Child Support Guidelines.
Several factors are used to determine the child support obligation for each parent. Factors used when calculating child support payments include:
- The income and/or earning potential of both parents
- The number of children to be supported
- Other children a parent might be supporting
- How much time the child spends with each parent
- The individual assets, resources, and debts of each parent
- Health insurance premiums
- Shared costs of raising children
- Support payments a parent receives from another party
Income and custody arrangements are two of the most significant factors used to calculate child support payments. Typically, the parent who earns more pays child support payments to the lesser-earning parent. A judge is unlikely to force a parent making less money to pay support payments, especially if the payments could result in the parent becoming impoverished.
However, both parents are responsible for paying their fair share of the child support payments. Yet, if a parent has substantially more income, the court may have them pay support payments even if the parents share physical custody in a truly 50-50- split.
What Happens if Child Support Payments or Child Custody Needs To Be Modified in Douglasville, GA?
Circumstances may change that require parents to modify child custody or child support payments. As a child grows up, they may have greater financial needs. A parent may get a new job that requires a change in parenting time.
Georgia law allows parents to petition to modify custody and child support payments for a substantial change in circumstances. For instance, suppose your child support payments are relatively low because you have a 50-50 custody arrangement, and you and your ex-spouse have about the same income.
However, your child transfers to another school to take advanced classes not offered at their current school. As a result, your child now lives primarily with you.
In that case, you might want to file a motion with the court seeking a modification order for parenting time and child support. As the primary custodial parent, you could be entitled to child support payments instead of paying child support.
Minor changes may not justify a modification, such as temporary unemployment and transitioning into a 60/40 custody split instead of 50-50.
It is essential to consult an experienced Douglasville child support lawyer as soon as possible after a change that could impact custody and/or child support payments. An agreement you make with your ex-spouse is not enforceable in court, even if you reduce the agreement to writing.
Therefore, you need an attorney to file a motion with the court seeking approval of the agreement. That is the only way you can ensure that you can enforce the terms of the custody or support agreement should your ex-spouse change their mind in the future.
Contact the Georgia Family Law Firm of Bardley McKnight Law for Help Today
We proudly serve Douglas County and its surrounding areas:
Law Firm of Bardley McKnight Law Offices
12461 Veterans Memorial Hwy, Suite 470
Douglasville, GA 30134