A typical child support arrangement involves a custodial and a non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent makes regular payments—the amount determined by the court—to help pay for the child’s needs. If the payments are missed or aren’t paid in full, the court can help collect what’s owed.
But parents who share physical custody can also make or receive child support payments. Typically, the lower earning parent receives payments, even if both parents split physical custody equally. In this case, child support payments work exactly how they would in any other family situation, with an amount determined by the court and factoring in parents’ gross incomes and incurred expenses like tuition or health insurance premiums.
In amicable divorces or separations, where the communication channels are open and clear, joint custodial parents can often determine their own support arrangement. With the help of a divorce attorney, families can create a parenting plan that allows for flexible support when it’s needed. (For example, when a child was living with one parent for the summer.)
In any case, whether it’s court-ordered child support or a more flexible agreement, the goal is to create a smooth financial footing for the child—one that gives the child the same financial advantages he or she would have in a single, combined household.
Courts tend to prioritize parents when determining child custody, but there are times when a grandparent or other relative may receive custody. These include situations where:
In Georgia, the Division of Child Support Services acknowledges that many grandparents raise their grandchildren and are financially responsible for their care and wellbeing. That’s why Georgia allows grandparents and other caretaker relatives to apply for child support for free, as well as access locate services to help find a noncustodial parent or parents or pursue no-cost paternity establishment.
Grandparents or other relatives may also request help with order enforcement or redirection. So if a custodial parent is receiving child support payments but a grandparent is actually caring for the child, the payments can, in some cases, be diverted.
In some states, grandparents may be required to pay child support—for instance, when the non-custodial parent is a minor—but Georgia does not.
If you need help creating a child support plan that works for your family, you need a child support attorney. Bivek Brubaker & Prescott can advise you on your child support plan and help you understand your obligations. Contact us today by calling (866) 527-2630.