Change that Matters: Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines Need Significant Changes
“Change that Matters: Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines Need Significant Changes for Low-Income Obligors, Suggested Recommendations” PowerPoint presentation to the Georgia Child Support Commission’s Low Income Study Committee, September 22, 2020
The following is an overview of the PowerPoint slides.
This presentation contains condensed issues and facts on how Georgia’s child support guidelines are overly burdensome to low-income noncustodial parents. Recommendations were made for the legislature to consider, but the Child Support Commission has not endorsed any recommendations even though the need is very compelling. The public needs to nudge legislators to draft and enact reform legislation. This presentation and related documents include key “selling points.”
The issue of how low-income situations should be addressed by the child support guidelines should be examined from two broad perspectives:
- The impact on individuals affected—the two parents and the child, and
- The impact on the community and society—which, in turn, affect the child.
- It is easy to focus just on the custodial household—and that household gets the most attention as that is where the child mostly lives.
- But it is important to view the importance of the impact from a broader perspective.
- It likely is best to make overall decisions based on the broad impact and then look at what facets need focused attention.
Notable facts include:
- GA has one of the highest sets of child cost tables in the country.
- Detailed analysis of Georgia’s case study shows that judges rarely deviate for low-Income obligors—they don’t lower awards due to lack of ability to pay.
If legislative proposals are enacted, there would be:
- Reduced costs to taxpayers from lower rates of incarceration (incarceration is expensive for taxpayers).
- Continuation of receipt of federal funds for complying with new federal regulations—otherwise, Georgia will not fully comply for getting federal funds for child support programs.
- Greater accountability of elected officials with the requirement for written explanations when imputing income (this is a “good government” proposal).
- Greater stability of low-income neighborhoods. Fathers are more willing to spend time with their children when not worrying about arrest for child support arrearages.
- Less frequent cases for with arrearages and contempt proceedings for judges to deal with.
Current guidelines set up low-income obligors for failure. Failure (arrearages from unaffordable awards) creates impediments to job prospects and earnings. The hurts the child over time. Failure creates father absence due to fears of prosecution and incarceration. The child and father suffer. Communities suffer from father absence. Crime rises.
Download the PowerPoint Presentation
Download the PowerPoint Presentation in a pdf file
Download the more detailed report in Word.