Merlinus Monroe, J.D. View Entire Blog

Georgia Child Support Obligations and Commission Income

An issue which arises frequently in divorce or child custody and support situations is child support from a party whose income is largely in the form of commissions, as with real estate sales. This issue has been ruled upon as recently as last year by the Supreme Court of Georgia is the case of Stowell v. Huguenard, 288 Ga. 628, 706 S.E.2d 419 (Ga. 2011), which affirmed the idea that a deviation from the presumptive amount of child support must be supported by findings of fact, and which chose to emphasize this procedural rule when it is not complied with. The decision follows, and it is important to note the different attitudes regarding the question taken by the majority decision.

The major point that the majority opinion makes which affirms the reasoning they use as prevailing is the nature of the commissions' use in ultimately determining child support, I believe. The commissions are meant to be included only for purposes of determining the gross income of a party. That number is then used to determine the proper monthly child support obligation of the party. Logically, sporadic income could then be used to justify a deviation in the child support obligation, if suitable findings of fact were made. The reasoning of the dissent is absolutely right when they argue for substance over procedure, but the fatal flaw in the judgment below appears to be the lack of facts that would justify any deviation, it appears.

Please see my website, at , for a blog entry on this topic.