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Parenting Time Issues with Georgia’s

Child Support Guidelines

 

This page is under construction.  Check back for updates.

 

Parenting time is a listed potential deviation factor in Georgia’s child support guidelines.  However, there is essentially no guidance in the guidelines on how to determine an appropriate amount for a parenting time deviation.

 

Key points that should be understood in order to determine an appropriate parenting time deviation are:

 

·        Georgia code on the parenting time deviation,

·        Related case data which includes at a minimum, the parents’ adjusted gross incomes, the number of children, each parent’s share of parenting time, and any information on to what extent each parent shares certain types of child costs (such as housing for the child, clothing, etc.),

·        Underlying facts for Georgia’s presumptive child cost table as related to parenting time, and

·        Some method for pulling together case data related to parenting time and converting into a numerical adjustment for the noncustodial parent’s parenting time, e.g., a formula for the parenting time adjustment.

 

The below links help with understanding and applying these points—including an Excel file with parenting time calculations and exhibits.

 

 

Ø  Georgia child support guidelines.  This link has the full code on child support guidelines.

 

The parenting time deviation factor is listed as OCGA § 19-6-15(b)(8)(K):

 

      (K)  Parenting time.

 

Additionally, this deviation factor is further elaborated in OCGA § 19-6-15(i)(2)(K)(i) and (ii):

 

      (K)  Parenting time.

         (i) The child support obligation table is based upon expenditures for a child in intact households. The court may order or the jury may find by special interrogatory a deviation from the presumptive amount of child support when special circumstances make the presumptive amount of child support excessive or inadequate due to extended parenting time as set forth in the order of visitation or when the child resides with both parents equally.

 

         (ii) If the court or the jury determines that a parenting time deviation is applicable, then such deviation shall be included with all other deviations and be treated as a deduction.

 

The parenting time deviation probably is the most controversial deviation listed in the child support guidelines.  The code contains some implied misinformation regarding the underlying facts of the guidelines on assumed parenting time.  Also, a pure and full parenting time adjustment has a far larger impact on an award than many expect.  Probably the two biggest points regarding making a parenting time deviation argument is to provide the underlying facts as documented in studies and to provide flexibility to the court in terms of how much to deviate.  If parental incomes are similar and parenting time is exercised, then a notable deviation is appropriate.  If the custodial parent’s income is notably less, then less of a deviation may be appropriate—though the income differential issue might be better addressed through alimony. 

 

Examining specific code, one should note that this specific deviation factor is for “extended” parenting time or for equal parenting.  This deviation factor implies that it is not a deviation for “standard” parenting time or even less than standard parenting time.  As will be seen below, the guidelines assume no parenting time for the noncustodial parent.  To argue a deviation for less than “extended” parenting time, it might be a cautious route to also argue the parenting time deviation under the “nonspecific” deviation section as well.  The nonspecific deviation factor is found in OCGA § 19-6-15(i)(3):

 

   (3)  Nonspecific deviations. Deviations from the presumptive amount of child support may be appropriate for reasons in addition to those established under this subsection when the court or the jury finds it is in the best interest of the child.

 

Ø  Georgia Child Support Economic Documents on Parenting time

 

The underlying facts regarding the parenting time issue are that the cost table is based on intact family data and that there is no built-in adjustment for “standard” parenting time for the noncustodial parent.

 

The first following link has official citations on these issues.  The second link somewhat explains what these citations mean.

 

 

 

 

Ø  Excel calculator for parenting time deviation and exhibits

 

To argue a parenting time deviation, it is helpful to have economic exhibits.  This Excel file (downloadable and free) has economics based methods of calculating a suggested parenting time deviation amount.  There are several options—including what an award would look like in a state with a presumptive (automatic) parenting time adjustment.  Examples used in this Excel file are from North Carolina and Arizona.

 

Ø  Instructions for using the Excel parenting time deviation calculator.

 

This link downloads the short version of instructions (a Word document) for the Rogers Economics’ full Excel deviation calculator which is inclusive of instructions for the parenting time deviation.  For the free parenting time deviation calculator, focus on the instructions for input data for the presumptive inputs and for the parenting time inputs.  Available tabbed pages for exhibits for parenting are referenced for where to look in the Excel file.

 

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