If you receive a child support order from the court in Georgia, the judge may decide to give you a parenting time deviation. According to the Judicial Council of Georgia, this deviation can raise or lower child support depending on the amount of parenting time you have.

Typically, child support and child custody matters are completely separate in the eyes of the court. For example, if you fail to pay your support payment, your children’s other parent cannot use the failure to pay to stop you from seeing them. In the case of the parenting time deviation, support and custody do impact each other.

How it works

The parenting time deviation is optional and a judge may use it as he or she sees fit. In general, if you have a lot of parenting time but you are not the custodial parent, then using this option can lower your child support obligations. On the other hand, if you do not have much parenting time, it could increase your payments.

Concerns and support

Some people like the deviation because they feel that it can reduce high support payments, making it easier for parents who pay. They also feel that it enables parents who share custody to have a fairer support arrangement that does not put an extra financial burden on the parent paying support.

Those who do not favor the idea largely express that since it is up to the judge, it is not always fair. It also is dependent on only the court order at the time and not the actual visitation used by the parent, which means the other parent could fight for more parenting time just to get an order in place to lower support but he or she may not actually take the children according to the parenting time plan.