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Low Income Deviation
Another one of Georgia’s many non-mandatory deviations is the Low Income deviation. The Low Income deviation may be requested by the non-custodial parent, but only if he or she shows the court that either of the following circumstances apply:
- The non-custodial parent has no earning capacity or ability to earn income
- The non-custodial parent’s presumptive child support obligation would create an extreme economic hardship for that parent.
O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(i)(2)(B). The Low Income deviation can be found in Schedule E, lines 1a and 1b. As depicted below, to request the Low Income deviation, the non-custodial parent must check the box above line 1a. Once this box is checked, the non-custodial parent will be able to enter the requested deviation amount. This amount should be entered as a positive amount, however it will be treated as a downward deviation or reduction to the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation.
Although this deviation applies to circumstance where the non-custodial parent has very minimal or no income, this deviation does not totally obviate the child support obligation. In fact, regardless of the non-custodial parent’s lack of income, the minimum child support obligation a noncustodial parent may have for the support of one child cannot be less than $100 per month. For each additional child included in the same child support action, the child support amount will be increased by at least $50 per child. See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(i)(2)(B).
For example: Custodial Mother earns $3,000 per month. Non-custodial Father earns $0.00 per month and seeks the Low Income deviation. Even with a $0.00 income, Father’s child support obligation will be calculated by the child support worksheet to be at least $100.00 per month. This scenario is exemplified below on a sample child support worksheet.