Let Our Attorneys Seek Financial Security For You And Your Kids Following Divorce
Under Georgia law, every child has a right to financial support from both parents, and the state takes the requirement to pay support very seriously. Spousal support, or alimony, is payment the supporting spouse sends to the dependent spouse, so that divorce does not unjustly enrich one spouse to the detriment of the other. At The McGarity Group, our first concern is obtaining a fair support order from the court. If problems arise later over a spouse’s ability to pay or increased expense in caring for your children, we represent your interests in hearings for modifications of support orders.
How Alimony Works In Georgia
Due to advances women have made in the workforce, permanent alimony from an ex-husband to an ex-wife has become very rare, and is generally reserved for older couples in marriages of long duration. Alimony today is mostly rehabilitative – it is meant to tide a dependent spouse over until he or she becomes self-supporting. The court can order periodic payments or a lump sum. The amount depends on several factors, such as:
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
- The dependent spouse’s marketable skills
- The amount of education or job training the dependent spouse would need to become self-supporting
- Each spouse’s age and health
Our experienced family law attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of pursuing a fair alimony award.
Considerations When Calculating Child Support
In most cases, the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. When you file for divorce, the court determines the amount of basic child support by looking closely at each parent’s financial statements and applying the state guidelines. It is imperative that your attorney use the discovery process to force your spouse to make a full disclosure of all income so the court decides based on accurate data. For many couples, that’s the whole story. However, the court can order additional child support to cover:
- Special needs
- Private school tuition
- Child’s enrichment activities
- Health insurance
With regards to private school and enrichment activities, such as dance, music lessons and travel teams, the court is more likely to order these expenses if the child was enrolled in school or engaged in the activity prior to the divorce, and continuing to pay would limit the disruption to the child’s life. In most cases, child support obligations last until the child reaches 18 years of age. However, if the child has not finished high school, the court may extend the obligation up to the age of 20.
Resolving Child Support Problems And Disputes
The courts have many enforcement powers to collect unpaid child support, and can even reach across state lines to do it. For obligor parents, the rule is simple: pay your support. If you don’t, you face numerous unpleasant consequences, including having your wages garnished, your tax refunds intercepted and your driver’s license suspended. You could even be put in jail for contempt.
Aside from callous disregard, there are usually two reasons noncustodial parents stop paying child support. The first is unemployment or other financial hardship, and the second is to punish the custodial parent for interfering with their visitation. In both cases, it’s a bad idea to simply stop paying support. The better tactic is to go back to court and request a modification of child support or enforcement of your visitation rights. You are entitled to a modification of support if you’ve experienced a substantial change in your finances. If your ex is attempting to alienate your children from you, you can get a court order forbidding the alienating conduct, and you may even be entitled to a share of physical custody.
Talk To Family Law Attorneys Who Listen And Care
The issues of alimony and child support are critical for each spouse’s financial security. At The McGarity Group, we have the experience necessary to guide the court toward a fair order that accurately reflects each party’s financial needs, abilities and circumstances. To schedule a consultation, call our Buford office today at 770-692-9877 or contact us online.