Posted On: March 30, 2010

Child Support and Uninsured Health Care Expenses

There are some health care expenses that are not covered by health insurance and the child support guidelines state that these uninsured health care expenses “shall be the responsibility of both parents.” OCGA 19-6-15(h)(3)(A). The final child support order must include provisions for payment of these expenses, but they are not to be used in calculating child support. Id. The child support guidelines require that “[t]he parents shall divide the uninsured health care expenses pro rata, unless otherwise specifically ordered by the court.” Id. This means that the parents are free to negotiate payment for the children’s uninsured health care expenses during settlement discussions, but if an agreement is reached to pay these expenses other than on a pro rata basis, this agreement MUST be included in the court’s Order in order for it to be valid and enforceable.

Posted On: March 23, 2010

Creating a Visitation Schedule

“Standard visitation” works well for some parents, but it may not be realistic for your family. In coming up with a visitation schedule with your spouse, it is important to consider the special circumstances in your family’s lives, such as the following:

Work commitments – Do you or does your spouse travel during the week? If so, weeknight visitation may not work for the travelling parent. Do you or does your spouse work late during the week? In this situation, an overnight during the week, rather than just dinner, may allow you to keep your work commitments while spending some quality time with your children during the week.

Children’s extracurricular activities – Do your children participate in extracurricular activities? Is it appropriate for parents to attend and watch the activity (ex: baseball practice, cheerleading practice)? Will you and your spouse both attend these activities or will you alternate? Perhaps the noncustodial parent can have dinner before or after the extracurricular activity to give him/her additional time. If the activities occur on weekends, you might be able to see your children at these activities even when it is not your weekend.

Posted On: March 16, 2010

Holiday Visitation Ideas

Holidays are special times for most families and one of the most difficult things for divorcing parents to come to terms with is the fact that they will not be spending all of the holidays with their children every year after the divorce. This can be difficult for the children as well as the parents so it is important to create a schedule where each parent has significant time with the children during the holidays.

The following is an example of a holiday visitation schedule that has worked for many parents:

In even numbered years, the Father has Thanksgiving and the second week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (beginning the afternoon of Christmas Day), while the Mother has Easter/Spring Break and the first week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (ending the afternoon of Christmas Day). In odd numbered years, the Father has Easter/Spring Break and the first week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (ending the afternoon of Christmas Day), while the Mother has Thanksgiving and the second week of Christmas Vacation/Winter Break (beginning the afternoon of Christmas Day). The Mother has Mother’s Day every year, and the Father has Father’s Day every year. Any holiday that falls on a Monday (i.e. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day) will belong to the parent who has the children the preceding weekend.

Posted On: March 9, 2010

Child Support and Health Insurance for Children

Under the Georgia Child Support Guidelines, expenses for a child’s health insurance premiums are included in the child support calculation. OCGA §19-6-15(h). The total health insurance premium is prorated between the parents based upon their respective incomes on the child support worksheets. The health insurance premium gets added as an adjustment to the basic child support obligation as an “additional expense” on the Child Support Worksheets. OCGA 19-6-15(h)(2)(A). The total premium is then divided pro rata between the parents and the end result is that the payor gets credit toward his/her child support obligation for the amount paid. Thus, the child support obligation is lowered by the amount of the premium for which the other parent is responsible.

For example, if the father makes $40,000 per year and the mother makes $60,000 per year, and the health insurance premium is $100/month, the father will be responsible for $40 and the mother will be responsible for $60. If the father is the child support payor and he is the one paying the premiums, his child support obligation will be lowered by $60/month, which is the amount of the health insurance premium for which the mother is responsible.

Posted On: March 2, 2010

Standard Visitation

If you are going through a divorce and you and your spouse have children together, an inevitable question will be: how often will I see my children? It is most common for one parent to have primary physical custody with the other parent having secondary physical custody and visitation. In discussing the custody and visitation arrangement with your spouse or divorce attorney, you will likely hear the term “standard visitation.”

“Standard visitation” is generally every other weekend with one overnight during the week in which the non-custodial parent does not have weekend visitation. Standard visitation includes an equal split of all holidays. Each parent generally has half of the holidays each year with the holidays rotating every other year. For example, one parent will have Thanksgiving with the children in even numbered years and the other parent will have Thanksgiving with the children in odd numbered years. In addition, with standard visitation, each parent generally has blocks of extended time (2-3 weeks) during the summer for vacations with the children.

Our divorce law firm likes to use “standard visitation” as a starting point for custody and visitation discussions as the “standard visitation” outlined above does not work for all families. Some families want different holidays addressed while work commitments may keep some parents from having overnights with the children during the week. Whatever your family’s situation, it is important to find a visitation schedule that works well for both parents as well as the children.