11Alive.com: Atlanta News – Child Support Rules Are Changing
The child support rules for divorced parents are changing. In spring 2005, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a new formula, which considers the income of both parents, not just the one paying the support.
But the all-important numbers were left to a special commission, who made their first recommendations on Wednesday.
The talk was technical, the number tables cold. But, for both sides, there may be some surprises.
â€œWeâ€™re not really going to know the impact until the tables are done, and we can run some numbers,â€ said parent Julie Batson.
Batson and her husband pay support for his 14-year-old daughter Morgan, while raising two girls of their own. For years, they fought for a shared income law. But, now, she worried how the new tables would affect poor and middle-class support payers.
â€œRight now, it looks like a lot of their support amounts are going to go up, and Iâ€™m concerned about that,â€ Julie said.
To show a simplified example — Parent A has custody and makes $1,000 per month. Parent B makes $2,000 per month.
Under the new guidelines, Parent B would pay about $413 per month, but each case varies. Under the old system, Parent B would have paid $340 to $460 per month.
â€œSome orders are going to go up, some are going to go down. Itâ€™s not going to be consistent by income range. Itâ€™s not going to be consistent by number of children. We donâ€™t know,â€ said Dr. Jane C. Venohr, part of the group that developed the tables.
Michael and Julie Martin gets support payments for his three children. He worried the new formula would mean less money.
â€œThe average amount of support awarded in Georgia was $250 before all of this legislation. I hope it wouldnâ€™t get worse for folks on that end,â€ said Michael.
Legislators on the commission had a different point of view.
â€œThe gloom and doom that was a part of this scenario just hasn’t materialized. I think what you’re finding is what’s in the best interest of the children is truly the standard with this,â€ said state representative Earl Ehrhart, chairman of the commission.
The commission has not picked its final set of tables yet.
The next step is public hearings around the state. The one in Atlanta will be at the Georgia Public Broadcasting studios at 260 14th Street on December 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. After the hearings, the recommendations go to the legislature.
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