Recent Georgia Supreme Court Opinion on Child Support

On January 24, 2011, the Supreme Court addressed issues related to child support calculations, mandatory drug testing, and shared joint physical custody in Willis v. Willis. In Willis, the Husband appealed the trial court’s calculation of his child support obligation and its decision to require him to take mandatory quarterly drug tests.  Per the final judgment, the Husband’s monthly child support obligation was $960.96 after a $600 work-related childcare expense adjustment; whereas the Wife’s child support obligation was $66.04 after making adjustments for a $600 monthly work-related childcare expenses and a $208.19 health care expense.  According to the Husband, the trial court: (1) did not consider parenting time his child support calculation, (2) unjustly enriched the Wife by not requiring support payments when the child was in his custody, and (3) required mandatory drug testing without evidence of drug use.  The Supreme Court confirmed the trial court’s decisions as it relates to the Husband’s complaints for the following reasons:

  1. Statutory procedure for calculating child support was properly used and the trial court found that a “downward deviation in the Husband’s support amount” would not be in the best interests of the minor  child,
  2. The child support award reflected the financial resources of both parents and there was no evidence the child was deprived by the Wife’s lack of support payments to the Husband while the child was in his custody,
  3. Mandatory drug testing was appropriate because “there was evidence that Husband had ingested drugs during the child’s lifetime.”

The Wife did not dispute the child support award; however, she appealed the award of shared joint physical custody based on 33 alleged errors she claimed the trial court made.  The Supreme Court found that the evidence presented by the wife was incorrect, baseless, or submitted too late to be considered and confirmed the trial court’s award of shared joint physical custody.

Note that we are not attorneys and not qualified to give legal advice. Nothing in this article should be construed as giving legal advice. The purpose of our articles is to educate and inform, alerting our readers to possible issues of interest to them. Please consult your attorney for advice specific to your individual situation if you think these issues may apply to you.

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