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One of Georgia’s more widely applicable non-mandatory deviations, especially in divorce matters, is the Alimony deviation. This deviation, which is found on Schedule E, line 7 of Georgia’s Child Support Worksheet is applicable under the following circumstances:
“Actual payments of alimony shall not be considered as a deduction from gross income but may be considered as a deviation from the presumptive amount of child support. If the court or the jury considers the actual payment of alimony, the court shall make a written finding of such consideration or the jury, in its special interrogatory, shall make a written finding of such consideration as a basis for deviation from the presumptive amount of child support.“
O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(i)(2)(G).
What the above quoted statute means practically is if either parent is obligated to pay alimony, the payment of alimony does not reduce that parent’s gross income for the purposes of calculating child support, but the payment of alimony may be considered as a deviation from the presumptive child support amount. Essentially, in the case of a non-custodial parent, his or her child support obligation may be reduced by virtue of also paying alimony, but the reduction will come in the form of a child support deviation, not a direct reduction in the gross income amount that parent should include on the worksheet.
As is exemplified in the child support worksheet except below, to take advantage of the Alimony deviation, the parent obligated to pay alimony should insert the requested deviation amount in the applicable field. If a downward deviation is sought, this amount should be entered as a negative number. If an upward deviation is sought, this amount should be entered as a positive number. Using the graphic below as an example:
Mother is the non-custodial parent who is also obligated to pay alimony to Father. The presumptive child support amount based on both parent’s incomes is $1227 per month, and the alimony awarded to Father is $500 per month. Mother requests a downward deviation in the amount of $500. If approved by the presiding court, this deviation would result in a final child support amount of $726 per month.
As with all of the other allowable non-mandatory deviations in Georgia, it is important to note that the Alimony deviation is discretionary. This means that the presiding court may adjust the amount of the requested deviation or refuse to allow the deviation altogether if the court finds that the requested deviation would not serve the best interest of the child or children involved in the action. If the court wishes to adjust the deviation amount, the adjusted amount will be placed in the columns labeled “Court or Jury Allowable Devotions.”