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Schedule B & Other Children
If either parent has a child or children from a prior relationship or marriage that are not to be included in the current child support calculation, there are two sections found in Schedule B of Georgia’s Child support Worksheet may be applicable: “ Adjustment for Preexisting Child support Orders Being Paid for Other Children” and “Adjustment for Other Qualified Children.” Colloquially, these adjustments are referred to as the Preexisting Order adjustment and the Other Qualified children adjustment, respectively.
Georgia statutory law defines a preexisting order as: “(A) An order in another case that requires a parent to make child support payments for another child, which child support the parent is actually paying, as evidenced by documentation[…]; and (B) That the date of filing with the clerk of court of the initial order for each preexisting case is earlier than the date of filing with the clerk of court of the initial order in the case immediately before the court, regardless of the age of any child in any of the cases.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(a)(18). See also O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(f)(5)(B)(i) to (f )(5)(B)(v).
For the purposes of calculating child support for a minor child in a new domestic relations action, if either parent has been paying child support pursuant to a preexisting child support order, that parent’s monthly gross income should be reduced by the amount that he or she currently pays pursuant to that preexisting child support order. In order to effect this adjustment to that parent’s monthly gross income, the parent seeking this adjustment should complete line 7, Schedule B of the Georgia Child Support Worksheet. As is exemplified below, the parent currently paying child support pursuant to a preexisting order of support should complete the applicable yellow fields. Once this is complete, the child support calculator will automatically adjust that parent’s income accordingly. This new adjusted gross income will then be used to calculate the child support amount the currently pending case. Using the below depicted child support worksheet expect as an example:
Other Qualified Children
Georgia law defines “Qualified child” or “qualified children” as any child: “(A) For whom the parent is legally responsible and in whose home the child resides; (B) That the parent is actually supporting; (C) Who is not subject to a preexisting order; and (D) Who is not before the court to set, modify, or enforce support in the case immediately under consideration. Qualified children shall not include stepchildren or other minors in the home that the parent has no legal obligation to support.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(a)(20); See also O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(a)(18).
With regard to the calculation of child support, unlike preexisting orders, the inclusion of other qualified children on Schedule B of the child support worksheet is not an automatic adjustment of the parent’s income, but a discretionary adjustment. This means that the presiding court has discretion whetherto consider this adjustment, and will only allow it if failure to consider the adjustment would cause substantial hardship to the parent and if the best interest of the child for whom support is being awarded will be served. See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(f )(5)(C). To take advantage of this potential adjustment, the parent seeking it must complete line 10, Schedule B of the child support worksheet, depicted below. Once this portion of the worksheet is completed, and the presiding court allows the adjustment, the adjustment will automatically be reflected on the worksheet. Because the definition of “other qualified children” does not include step children or other children for which the parent has not legal duty to support, this potential adjustment is normally applicable in cases where one party to the current matter is the custodial parent of children from a prior marriage or relationship, for example, a mother who is currently caring for and residing with a child from her prior marriage.