People often ask me if being a stay at home mom is a plus or a minus when determining child support. The answer is … it depends. For those who had child support ordered before 2007, the custodial parent's income was not considered. However, after 2007 both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent's income are considered when calculating the amount of child support. This is true in both new divorce cases as well as in child support modification cases. That may not be news to you. But what you may not know is that the age of the child can impact whether child support is imputed to the stay at home custodial parent.
For children under the age of three, no income is imputed to the stay at home custodial parent. This means that the income of the non-custodial, child support paying parent is the only income that that matters. But for children over the age of three, the income of both parents is considered by the court, even if the custodial parent is not working. How? Minimum wage is imputed to the stay at home non-custodial parent regardless of whether they work inside or outside the home. There are a few exceptions, such as children with serious medical issues. But absent an exception, the court is likely to assume that the stay at home custodial parent is working anyway, whether they are or not.
If you have questions about your individual child support situation, you should contact a family law attorney. They can evaluate your current support situation, or look at an existing child support situation and guide you on the best course of action for you and your family.
Karen has an MBA from Boston College and received her law degree from Emory. She has an office in Alpharetta and has practiced family law since 1994. She is a Guardian Ad Litem and active Foster Care Advocate with area courts and is also on the Family Law Executive Committee for the State Bar of Georgia. She frequently speaks state wide on family law issues and can be contacted at 770-952-5000.