Child support in Georgia is not waived or excused by a parent's failure to answer a complaint or a parent's failure to file a contempt action to collect child support. Child support is viewed as the child's right to support.
The purpose of child support is to achieve the state policy of affording children with unmarried parents, to the extent possible, the same economic standard of living enjoyed by children living in intact families consisting of parents with similar financial means.
The Official Code of Georgia's Annotated establishes child support guidelines under O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15.
Per O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(c)(1), provides in part:
- The child support guidelines contained in the Code section are a minimum basis for determining the amount of child support and shall apply as a rebuttable presumption in all legal proceedings involving the child support responsibility of a parent.
The parents in a divorce or other child custody action may agree to settling the issue of child support amongst themselves and present such agreement to the Court for the Court's consideration.
Child Support Modification
O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(k), provides in part:
- Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a parents shall not have the right to petition for modification of the child support award regardless of the length of time since the establishment of the child support awadred unless there is a substantial change in either parent's income and financial status or the needs of the child.
- No petition to modify child support may be filed by either parents within a period of two years from the date of the final order on a previous petition to modify by the same parent except when: (A) A noncustodial parent has failed to exercise the court ordered visitation; (B) A noncustodial parent has exercised a greater amount of visitation than was provided in the court order; or (C) The motion to modify is based upon an involuntary loss of income as set forth in subsection (j) of this Code section.
Modification for Involuntary Loss of Income: O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15 (j)
O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15 (j) states in part, "In the event a parent suffers an involuntary termination of employment, has an extended involuntary loss of average weekly hours, is involved in an organized strike, incurs a loss of health, becomes incarcerated, or similar involuntary adversity resulting in a loss of income of 25 percent or more, then the portion of child support attributable to lost income shall not accrue from the date of the service of the petition for modification, provided that service is made on the other parents. It shall not be considered an involuntary termination of employment if the parent has left the employer without good cause in connection with the parent's most recent work.
While the parties are free to enter into an agreement to modify child support, the agreement will not be enforceable until it is made an order of the court pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 19-6-19 Pearson v. Pearson, 265 GA 100, 454 S.E.2d 124 (1995).