Parenting time is a listed potential deviation factor in Georgia’s child support guidelines. However, there is essentially no guidance in the guidelines on how to determine an appropriate amount for a parenting time deviation.
Key points that should be understood in order to determine an appropriate parenting time deviation are:
The below links help with understanding and applying these points-including an Excel file with parenting time calculations and exhibits.
Click here for the full code on Georgia’s child support guidelines.
The parenting time deviation factor is listed as OCGA § 19-6-15(b)(8)(K):
Additionally, this deviation factor is further elaborated in OCGA § 19-6-15(i)(2)(K)(i) and (ii):
The parenting time deviation probably is the most controversial deviation listed in the child support guidelines. The code contains some implied misinformation regarding the underlying facts of the guidelines on assumed parenting time. Also, a pure and full parenting time adjustment has a far larger impact on an award than many expect. Probably the two biggest points regarding making a parenting time deviation argument is to provide the underlying facts as documented in studies and to provide flexibility to the court in terms of how much to deviate. If parental incomes are similar and parenting time is exercised, then a notable deviation is appropriate. If the custodial parent’s income is notably less, then less of a deviation may be appropriate-though the income differential issue might be better addressed through alimony.
Examining specific code, one should note that this specific deviation factor is for “extended” parenting time or for equal parenting. This deviation factor implies that it is not a deviation for “standard” parenting time or even less than standard parenting time. As will be seen below, the guidelines assume no parenting time for the noncustodial parent. To argue a deviation for less than “extended” parenting time, it might be a cautious route to also argue the parenting time deviation under the “nonspecific” deviation section as well. The nonspecific deviation factor is found in OCGA § 19-6-15(i)(3):
The underlying facts regarding the parenting time issue are that the cost table is based on intact family data and that there is no built-in adjustment for “standard” parenting time for the noncustodial parent.
The first following link has official citations on these issues. The second link somewhat explains what these citations mean.
To argue a parenting time deviation, it is helpful to have economic exhibits. This Excel file (downloadable and free) has economics based methods of calculating a suggested parenting time deviation amount. There are several options-including what an award would look like in a state with a presumptive (automatic) parenting time adjustment. Examples used in this Excel file are from North Carolina and Arizona.
This link downloads the short version of instructions (a Word document) for the Rogers Economics’ full Excel deviation calculator which is inclusive of instructions for the parenting time deviation. For the free parenting time deviation calculator, focus on the instructions for input data for the presumptive inputs and for the parenting time inputs. Available tabbed pages for exhibits for parenting are referenced for where to look in the Excel file.