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Since U Been Gone, I’ve Paying over $45,000 in Child Support

Kelly Clarkson has just settled her divorce from her husband of more than seven years. What is more surprising: the American Idol star paying $45,601.00 per month in child support or that she has primary physical custody of their two children and is still paying support?

In Georgia, the math for child support calculations is statutorily proscribed. We cannot change how the numbers are crunched. Because of this, there is a cap on how high the child support calculations can compute without deviations to increase the numbers. That cap is no where near $45,000.00 per month.

So, how would a child support obligation become that high?

When either or both parents are high income earners, Georgia law authorizes an upwards deviation from the minimum presumptive child support. The statute defines high income earners as any household that grosses $30,000.00 per month ($360,000.00 annually). Kelly Clarkson is definitely a high income earner.

Outside of authorizing an upwards deviation to child support for those high income earners, Georgia’s statute doesn’t provide a lot of guidance as to what that new child support number would be. That being said, the state’s child support calculations looks to do one thing for all parents – regardless of their income: ensure the child’s living experienced is equalized as much as possible in both new households.

Which may explain why Kelly, the primary custodian, is agreeing to pay her ex husband child support each month. In a year, she will pay over half a million dollars in child support for their children to visit their dad in Montana once a month.

Prior to the change in Georgia’s child support code, the method of assigning a financial obligation on either parent for child support was to calculate a flat percentage of the parent’s gross monthly income. Perhaps that what the Pop Star and her attorneys calculated to come up with the number. What is certain is, she agreed to pay $45,601 per month in child support to the non-custodial parent after careful consideration regarding her children’s best interests, the law, and her best outcome – and it was apparently worth it to her.

Let’s hope settling all issues of their divorce, rather than taking it to trial, results in harmony for the pop star’s family. Pun intended.

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