Child Support – How is it Calculated and What If I’m Out of Work Due to the Pandemic?

The process of establishing or modifying child support can be frustrating and scary without the help of an attorney. Many parents receiving support become confused as to how child support is calculated, enforced and whether or not they will receive enough money from the other parent to adequately care for their children. On the other side, many non-custodial parents want to pay reasonable child support for their children; however, uncertain economic times and events outside of their control can impact their ability to earn income. Georgia law has considered those situations. Here is some basic information that you should know:

Q: What does the law require me to pay?

A: In Georgia, both parents are required to support their children until their child reaches the age of 18, dies, graduates from high school, marries, emancipates, or joins the military. In limited situations, support can extend past the age of 18, such as in the case of a child still in high school.

In 2007, Georgia updated the Child Support Law, codified as O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15, and began calculating child support based on a shared income model using the gross income of both parents. Essentially, each Court in Georgia uses a child support calculator to determine the amount of support that the non-custodial parent should pay to the custodial parent each month. Additionally. that child support calculator considers additional expenses that the parties pay for their children, such as health insurance, tuition expenses, and work-related child-care. For more information about Georgia’s Child Support Worksheet, you can visit the Division of Child Support Services Website here .

Q: What if I recently lost my income or my income has been significantly reduced because of Covid-19?

A: If you are currently paying or receiving child support, you may be entitled to a modification of your monthly child support payment based on your involuntary financial change in circumstances. Georgia law allows a parent who suffers an involuntary termination of employment, an extended involuntary loss of average weekly hours, a loss of health, or similar involuntary adversity resulting in the loss of income of 25% or more, to seek a modification of support from the Court so that their child support can be adjusted downward. There are many factors that the Court considers before modifying the child support; however, knowing that you have the right to seek relief from the Court is the first step. The second step is to seek counsel.

If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys.

Dawn Smith                  (404) 909-8300

Kristen Files                     (404) 909-8300

Laura Sclafani             (404) 909-8300


Smith & Files is a law firm dedicated to assisting individuals and children obtain fair and favorable results in family law matters. Our lawyers bring decades of experience to the issues facing today’s changing families. In addition, the attorneys are seasoned Guardian ad Litems, mediators and state registered arbitrators. Learn more at