Why Is There Increased Discussion About Child Support and “Self-Support” Needs?



Low-income child support payers are commonly perceived as creating their own problems.  Instead and more often, problems actually arise due to little-understood Georgia law on child support as applied in low-income situations. Georgia’s child support laws have been found and documented to be notably excessive and unaffordable for low-income noncustodial parents. Not fixing this issue has far more pervasive adverse effects than many believe.


Low-Income Child Support Obligors in Georgia: What’s the Problem?





In this chart, “BCSO” is Basic Child Support Obligation—the main part of a child support award (all costs except day care and health insurance).  It compares child support costs (vertical axis) to monthly gross income (horizontal). It is combined income of mother and father, but one can see the impact on the NCP father if all of the combined income comes from the father.  Georgia is far higher at low incomes and the highest at moderately high segments of low income.



This chart shows the results from the data in the most recent study of child support cases by the Georgia Commission on Child Support.  It shows that over one fourth of NCPs in the study were pushed below the poverty level by the award made by the court.  When one looks at a slightly higher standard for basic needs (120 percent of the poverty level to pay payroll taxes), 38.5 percent are pushed below basic needs income by court-ordered child support.



Fear of losing a job, losing a driver’s license, or being arrested is constant when child support is excessive.






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