Child support question from the dads side

Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 09:19 pm
I have been divorced for about 3 years and have one son who is now 15. I used (stupidly)the same lawyer as my ex-wife and I pay the max % of my income to her every month. I didn't want to fight anything that she was doing at the time because she kept threatning to drag my son into court knowing that I would cave (and I did) What I want to know is what are my chances of having the support lowered if I see a lawyer. I can hardly make ends meet as it is and I can't afford to see a lawyer unless I think that it will do some good. In all of the time that I have been paying I have never been late, and I have played by the rules of the divorce even though during the holidays she does not. I kept my son for 2 months during the summer and I get him every other weekend as well as other times when I take him places that she refuses to. Please help Rolling Eyes
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Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 09:36 pm
Has either your or her financial situation changed during the 3 years? If so you can ask the court to reevaluate the payments based on the change in financial situation.

If not I'd suspect the judge would ask why they should reconsider something that you agreed to 3 years ago. Not that they won't hear you out but IMO, you start out with a big disadvantage.

Call a few lawyers and ask for an inital consult. Most will do that for free and give you an idea of where you stand.
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Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 09:50 pm
I changed jobs and for a time was making a little less money, but now I am making about the same. The thing that makes me want to see what I can do is that I am having to scrape every month to pay bills (and have been for 3 years) while she was re-married 2 months after the divorce and has 2 new vehicles etc. I also keep my son often so that they can take a vacation while I can't afford gas to get to work sometimes. I guess that life just sucks that way?
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Debra Law
Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2004 03:52 pm
Child support is based upon child support guidelines established in every state. You can contact your regional child support enforcement office and request an evaluation of your child support obligation. If your court-ordered child support obligation does not comport with the guidelines, the CSE office can have your obligation modified.

But there are other factors to consider. Your son is 15 years old. He is probably a sophmore in high school. He will graduate from high school in three years. Your obligation to provide child support to the mother will cease. Whatever assistance you want to provide to your son thereafter will be up to you.

Right now, you have a good track record with your son. You have never before made support an issue. HE KNOWS you are providing support to the best of your ability even though it is a financial hardship on your part. You can be certain that he appreciates that he is NOT the center of any support disputes between you and your ex. Sure, it's difficult to meet that obligation every month, but you're doing it. The thing to remember is this: It's NOT FOREVER.

Right now, it appears that you have a great relationship with your son. You provide support despite the difficulties and you spend time with him. You are teaching him responsibility through your own example. Your son can be very proud to have you as his father. (Other children are not so lucky to have a financially-responsible father.) These next three years will pass quickly and your son will soon be an adult. Is it worth alienating him by making him feel like a financial burden to you?

BEFORE you do anything, think about how your son will perceive your actions. Put your long-term (life-time) relationship with you son ahead of any short-term financial difficulties that you might be experiencing. You'll be glad you did.
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Reply Tue 12 Oct, 2004 09:08 pm
Debra, thank you for the reply, I do agree with you for the most part and you have my son's age etc. exact. I understand the point of not wanting to make him think that he is a burden, but I won't make it 3 more months much less 3 more years. Today I was going over the divorce papers and discovered that my monthly income was listed at over $1500.00 gross per month more than I make now.(I had never read over them until now, too painful) At the 23% rate that is the highest for a single child under Ga. state law I am overpaying by about $200.00 per month, this is after 3 raises, so I have paid a lot of extra money over 3 years.
The last thing that I want is to hurt my son, but if I have nowhere to live and nothing to drive what good am I to him then?
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Debra Law
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2004 12:15 am
Contact the Georgia Child Support Enforcement Office. They will conduct a review of your child support obligation and obtain a modification based upon your gross income. If you make $1000 or more per month, you will be required to pay a fee of $100. To facilitate and expedite the matter, you will need to provide all of your financial information.

To prove that you are not underemployed and that your income was overstated in the original divorce papers, provide the CSE office with your income tax returns for the last four years. If things are as dire as you state, the faster you act and provide the information, the sooner the CSE office can act to review the order and have it modified. If you drag your feet, it could take 6 months or more to accomplish your goal.

Georgia Child Support Enforcement Office


The Georgia Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) provides child support services that include reviewing a child support order and support amount.

Important Information
When you ask us to review your order, the agency will determine whether a Recommendation will be made as to the amount of current support. The amount may go up, go down, or stay the same.

Past due support is not changed. We may also make a Recommendation to order accident and sickness insurance.

When reviewing and changing the support amount, we can not address visitation and custody issues. You must talk to a private attorney about these issues. Note: Since the OCSE attorney does not represent either parent, you may choose to get your own attorney, or you may represent yourself.

§ The person requesting a review will have to pay a $100 non-refundable review application fee, unless they can prove their gross income is $1000.00 or less per month.

§ When a review is requested, it may take up to six months to complete the process. The length of time varies depending upon how difficult it is to locate a necessary party, verify income or assets, obtain service upon both parties, etc.

§ If another state is involved, it may take longer to complete the process. Another state may be involved if the order was entered in another state or if one of the parents lives in another state.

To obtain more information about the requirements for a review of your child support order, click on the underlined links below:

If your support order was issued or reviewed less than 36 months ago <Court order less than 36 months old.doc>, click on this link.

If your support order was issued or reviewed more than 36 months ago <Court order more than 36 months old.doc>, click on this link.

Georgia Code Annotated:


b) The child support award shall be computed as provided in this

(1) Computation of child support shall be based upon gross income;

(2) For the purpose of determining the obligor's child support
obligation, gross income shall include 100 percent of wage and
salary income and other compensation for personal services,
interest, dividends, net rental income, self-employment income,
and all other income, except need-based public assistance;

(3) The earning capacity of an asset of a party available for
child support may be used in determining gross income. The
reasonable earning potential of an asset may be determined by
multiplying its equity by a reasonable rate of interest. The
amount generated by that calculation should be added to the
obligor's gross monthly income;

(4) Allowable expenses deducted to calculate self-employment
income that personally benefit the obligor, or economic in-kind
benefits received by an employed obligor, may be included in
calculating the obligor's gross monthly income; and

(5) The amount of the obligor's child support obligation shall be
determined by multiplying the obligor's gross income per pay
period by a percentage based on the number of children for whom
child support is being determined. The applicable percentages of
gross income to be considered by the trier of fact are:
Number of
Children Percentage Range of Gross Income
1 17 percent to 23 percent
2 23 percent to 28 percent
3 25 percent to 32 percent
4 29 percent to 35 percent
5 or more 31 percent to 37 percent

Application of these guidelines shall create a rebuttable
presumption that the amount of the support awarded is the correct
amount of support to be awarded.
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Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2004 10:10 am
Thank you Debra. For some reason when I did a Google search for child support laws in Ga. this website didn't come up.
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