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Mandatory Deviations

In addition to the adjustments that may be made during the child support calculation discussed in our section titled “Gross Income,” there are also two deviations that should be taken into account during the child support calculation if they are applicable. These two deviations are known as mandatory deviations and may cause the presumptive child support amount to increase or decrease. These deviations include the work related child care expense deviation and the health insurance premium deviation. These two deviations take into account the yearly amount that each parent expends on work related child care and health insurance premiums for the children involved. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(h). If either parent incurs this expense, it should be accounted for on the child support worksheet in order for an accurate child support amount to be ascertained.

Work Related Child Care Expense Deviation

Work related child care expenses are child care expenses that a parent must incur in order to facilitate his or her employment, education or vocational training. Before a deviation based on these expenses will be approved by a court, the judge must determine that the expenses are appropriate to the parent’s financial abilities and to the lifestyle of the child if the parent and the child are living together. O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(h)(1)(A). If these expenses are deemed appropriate, they will be reflected in the child support calculation on the child support worksheet. Id.

If child care is provided free of charge or if a parent’s child care costs are being subsidized by a public assistance program, the value of those services will not be included in the child support calculation as an adjustment. Only the amount of child care expenses actually paid by the parent will be included in the child support calculation as an adjustment to the child support amount. See O.C.G.A. §§ 19-6-15(h)(1)(B); 19-6-15(h)(1)(D).… (continue reading)

Health Insurance Premium Deviation

The non-custodial parent’s child support obligation may also be affected by whether either parent is paying health insurance premiums for the minor children. If one parent is paying health insurance premiums, the amount that parent is paying each year may either increase or decrease the child support obligation depending on which parent is making the payments. O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(h)(2)(A)(i). Similar to the work related child care expense deviation, only the amount that the parent actually pays will be considered in the child support calculation; and, if the plan that covers the child covers multiple individuals or family members, only the portion actually attributable to that child’s insurance expense will be considered. Id.… (continue reading)

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