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Findings of Fact in GA Child Support Orders

Posted by attorney David Canale

Georgia child support law requires that trial courts make specific findings of fact when establishing or modifying child support obligations. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15 makes such findings mandatory. The general practice is for the court to make specific findings as to the parents’ respective incomes, the cost for health insurance and child care, and any deviations that are permitted under the guidelines.

However, it is quite common for Georgia appellate courts to hear cases involving incomplete trial court child support orders. In all cases where the trial court fails to make the appropriate findings of fact, Georgia appellate courts will reverse the court’s decision and remand the case back to the trial court with directions to make the appropriate findings of fact and include them in its final order.

To avoid having this problem, a parent in a case either establishing or modifying a child support order must make sure that his counsel is experienced in the area of family law and child support obligations. Although I have no evidence to back this up, my hunch is that the attorneys whose cases end up being reversed and remanded on appeal for not including the findings of fact probably do not practice much family law and are not familiar with the requirement that the final order include these findings of fact. This provision is not entirely new, but it is one that must be followed to avoid future problems with an order.

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