Georgia Child Support Commission
Parenting Time Deviation Study Committee
The Georgia Child Support Commission (“Commission”), Chair, R. Michael Key, has authorized a study committee for the purpose of reviewing the current Parenting Time Deviation in the child support guidelines statute, O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15. Attorney Kathleen Connell, Commission member, serves as Chair of the study committee. The purpose and goal of the study is to determine if Georgia’s current structure of the Parenting Time Deviation is adequate for Georgia’s needs in determining the obligation of child support for parents who exercise more than what the court considers to be standard visitation OR when parents include 50/50 shared parenting in the calculation of child support.
Your input and answers to the survey questions below are critical to this study committee.
- The parenting time deviation is a matter of judicial discretion and may raise or lower a child support obligation depending on the amount of visitation ordered.
- The parenting time deviation could lower child support when the noncustodial parent has custody a great deal of time or could increase child support if the noncustodial parent will have very little or no parenting time.
- The parenting time deviation is based upon court-ordered visitation at the time child support is determined (does not account for whether parenting time is exercised).
- Parenting time is often negotiated by the parties and approved or modified through judicial discretion.
- Several parent groups have attended Commission meetings and discussed their concerns about the parenting time deviation. Varying opinions abound.
- Some parent groups advocate for adding a specific formula to the calculation of child support to account for the parenting time granted to each parent.
- On the flip side, at least one parent group believes that child support obligations should never be linked to parenting time as it creates a harmful incentive for parents to seek more parenting time for financial reasons.
- What is “standard” visitation? Should “standard visitation” be defined by state statute? Or, does it vary greatly county to county?
- There appears to be a trend toward more balanced parenting time, i.e., 50/50 physical custody. Should this effect child support obligations?
- “Noncustodial” parents who have a high amount of physical custody of their children are burdened because they incur expenses when having physical custody and still pay “full” child support, if a parenting time deviation is not granted.
Historical Perspective – 2006
- The Child Support Commission presented a bill to the General Assembly that included a formula to account for parenting time in the calculation of child support.
- That proposed formula was included as a proposed Schedule C to the child support worksheet.
- However, the legislature removed the formula in the passed version of the statute, O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15.
- Instead, the Legislature made an accounting for parenting time as a possible deviation from the presumptive amount of child support—at the discretion of the judge or jury—and which, accordingly, appears on Schedule E. (See an excerpt of this codified language from the statute on the next page.)
- Several parent groups have attended Commission meetings and discussed their concerns.
- Some parent groups advocate that the parenting time deviation should include a specific formula.
- Yet, other parent groups advocate that parenting time should never be linked to the determination of child support.
The Parenting Time Deviation Study Committee was authorized and approved by the Georgia Child Support Commission during the Commission’s November 16, 2018 meeting.
SURVEY ON GEORGIA’S CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
PARENTING TIME DEVIATION
The following are excerpts from O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15 on the current statutory language of the Parenting Time Deviation:
(a)(17) “Parenting time deviation” means a deviation allowed for the noncustodial parent based upon the noncustodial parent’s court ordered visitation with the child. For further reference see subsections (g) and (i) of this Code section.
(b)(8) In accordance with subsection (i) of this Code section, deviations subtracted from or added to the presumptive amount of child support shall be applied, if applicable, and if supported by the required findings of fact and application of the best interest of the child standard. The proposed deviations shall be entered on the Child Support Schedule E — Deviations. In the court’s or the jury’s discretion, deviations may include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) High income;
(B) Low income;
(C) Other health related insurance;
(D) Life insurance;
(E) Child and dependent care tax credit;
(F) Travel expenses;
(I) Permanency plan or foster care plan;
(J) Extraordinary expenses;
(K) Parenting time; and
(L) Nonspecific deviations;
(c)(2)(F) Specify the amount of the noncustodial parent’s parenting time as set forth in the order of visitation;
(g) Parenting time deviation. The court or the jury may deviate from the presumptive amount of child support as set forth in subparagraph (i)(2)(K) of this Code section.
(i)(2)(K) Parenting time.
(i) The child support obligation table is based upon expenditures for a child in intact households. The court may order or the jury may find by special interrogatory a deviation from the presumptive amount of child support when special circumstances make the presumptive amount of child support excessive or inadequate due to extended parenting time as set forth in the order of visitation, the child residing with both parents equally, or visitation rights not being utilized.
(ii) If the court or the jury determines that a parenting time deviation is applicable, then such deviation shall be included with all other deviations.
(iii) In accordance with subsection (d) of Code Section 19-11-8, if any action or claim for parenting time or a parenting time deviation is brought under this subparagraph, it shall be an action or claim solely between the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent, and not any third parties, including child support services.
Parenting Time Deviation – Survey Questions
The original survey questions were written for judges. Please answer questions that relate to your knowledge on the topic.