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purpleheart

“ step down “ provision regarding child support

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Court order: “ child due to be emancipated witching 2 years ( anticipated upon graduation from high school, occurring after 18th bday). Worksheet shows a step down in child support once *** is emancipated. Beginning one month following ****’s emancipation, father shall pay $$$ in monthly child support.”

Child is 18 years and 8 months old. Age of majority is 18 in state of Ga. therefore child is emancipated. Child has been in 11th grade homeschool for the last 3 years. Child’s “ anticipated” graduation from date of court order was May 2019. Apply step down amount of child support?

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Sorry, but GA Code 19-6-15 provides that if even if the kid is 18, if they are still in high school, child support continues until they graduate or turn 20.  You would need to go back to court if you want to try to get the amount changed sooner.

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Follow the court order as written.
 

Quote

 

Georgia code 15-11-720

(b)An emancipation occurs by operation of law

(2) When a child reaches the age of 18 years

 

 

https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2018/title-15/chapter-11/article-10/section-15-11-720/

 

Doesn't say anything about school.

 

Assuming that you are relating the words of the court order correctly, the step down amount is what gets paid.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, LegalwriterOne said:

GA Code 19-6-15 provides that if even if the kid is 18, if they are still in high school, child support continues until they graduate or turn 20

 

True, but the court order already changes the amount that has to be paid. No need to go back to court to get it changed. Payments continue but at the reduced amount.

 

By the way, 19-6-15 has a ton of sub-sections. Which one are you referring to?

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The whole idea behind including the “ step down “ in support was to avoid going back to court for another modification. The “ loophole “ is the part of the order that states “ ANTICIPATED UPON GRADUATION OF HIGH SCHOOL, OCCURING AFTER 18th BIRTHDAY.” But this could allow a dropout to continue receiving support after 18th birthday. This is what the custodial parent is basing her argument on and says she must graduate; not just be 18. But to me it plainly states to pay the step down amount one month following the 18th birthday. Thanks for your comments.

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The statute says child support continues after 18 if the child is attending high school and has not graduated by age 18.  The support continues while the kid is a high school student until he graduates or turns 20 whichever is sooner.  If the kid was a drop-out, then that part of the statute wouldn't apply and the step-down would happen when the kid turned 18 or at the point when he dropped out if it was after turning 18.  If the OP wants to argue that he should be entitled to the step-down now, he will have to go to court. 

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So, we have conflicting answers. Adjusterjack says follow the court order and Legalwriterone say follow the statute. I guess the only true answer would be pay up AGAIN and get in front of a judge. 😣 

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That's not the only answer. I don't see a conflict between the statute and the court order. The statute says keep paying but doesn't say keep paying the same amount. The court order specifies pay less upon emancipation. Emancipation is defined by statute as age 18.

 

Since it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission I suggest that when the offspring is 18 you just write your checks for the lesser amount and turn a deaf ear to the CP's protestations. Put the difference in a separate account and don't spend the money. Then let the CP decide if she want to go back to court on it. The worst that can happen is you get ordered to pay back the difference.

 

Of course, if you act on my suggestion you do so at your own risk.

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If the order says the step-down happens when the kid graduates, which it certainly seems to do, then the step-down doesn't happen until that occurs.  If there was no step-down provision in the order, you would be obligated to pay support until the kid graduated or turned 20 whichever happened sooner.  Thus, the step-down shouldn't  happen until the kid graduates or turns 20.  If you are unsure, you can consult a local attorney,  take a risk and act on your own as Jack suggests or you can go to the court and get clarification which doesn't cost anything. 

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In looking back over OP's first post it appears that he has taken certain quotes a piece at a time from the document.

 

I'm willing to rescind my opinion until we see that entire section of the court order quoted word for word, dollar for dollar, without any editing excepting redacting of names.

 

 

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Ok so here is the court order with some names and dollar amounts: “ Susan is due to be emancipated within two years, anticipated upon her graduation from high school, occurring after her 18th birthday ). In compliance with OCGA 19-6-15, worksheet C reflects Petioner as legal custodian of Bob and Jeff and shows the step down in support after Susan is emancipated. Beginning one month following Susan’s emancipation, Respondent Father shall pay $988 total monthly support.” 

 

It just seems to me that child support doesn’t stop but seems to be ordered to reduce after Susan is emancipated?thank you guys so much for your input. It seems that despite our every effort to prevent returning to court by providing a step down provision we are going to have to head that way again 😞 

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1 hour ago, purpleheart said:

 “ Susan is due to be emancipated within two years, anticipated upon her graduation from high school, occurring after her 18th birthday ). In compliance with OCGA 19-6-15, worksheet C reflects Petioner as legal custodian of Bob and Jeff and shows the step down in support after Susan is emancipated. Beginning one month following Susan’s emancipation, Respondent Father shall pay $988 total monthly support.” 

 

The only part of that paragraph that is clear and unambiguous is the last sentence. The rest of it's gibberish. The words "step down" do not appear in OCGA 19-6-15.

 

If it was me, I would obey that last sentence and let the ex initiate any court proceeding to try and convince the judge that the other two sentences mean something else.

 

How much was the prior amount of support?

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37 minutes ago, purpleheart said:

OH yes!! very litigious, manipulative and vindictive; impossible to have any kind of rational conversation; willingly remains unemployed

 

If she does head back to court go loaded for bear about the failing of 2 years of homeschooling under the mother.

 

That sounds frighteningly like somebody trying to extend high school. 

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Oh yes PayRollGuy, extending high school to extend child support. “ Susan “ was an A/B honor roll student, involved in French, Drama Club, HOSA club and played volleyball for the public high school. There is NO reason, other than lack of proper education, should she have remained in 11th grade from August 2017-TODAY. 

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47 minutes ago, purpleheart said:

Oh yes PayRollGuy, extending high school to extend child support. “ Susan “ was an A/B honor roll student, involved in French, Drama Club, HOSA club and played volleyball for the public high school. There is NO reason, other than lack of proper education, should she have remained in 11th grade from August 2017-TODAY. 

 

Another reason to pay the lesser amount, knowing that your ex is likely to take you to court where you can sandbag her with the home schooling issue. There's no reason why your daughter shouldn't have graduated high school this semester.

 

 

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48 minutes ago, PayrollHRGuy said:

On the flip side of that issue the judge may ask why you didn't take action when it was obvious that homeschooling wasn't working.

“ Susan” lived with me from 2014-2017. She decided to start being a rebellious teenager. She began being disobedient. I was holding her accountable for her lies / actions.For instance, she left school early one day with another student and drove that student to our home in the middle of the day. She didn’t like her car keys or cell phone taken from her. She didn’t like our rules and decided to move in with her mother ( where there are no rules or accountability ) She missed 19 days of public school after she moved in with her mother. Mother withdrew her 2 months into 2017 11th grade school year to “ homeschool “ to avoid truancy. Between the 2014 divorce, a 2016 modification and 2018 modification ( Susan leaving ) the attorneys fees are unbelievable. Susan is of age to tell the judge she wants to live with her mother; and in the state of Georgia you can dropout at 16 with a parents signature. Her mother signed the withdrawal forms as she became the primary custodian per modification. For the last 5 years I’ve  fought for my children and their education and 3 of my 5 have chosen the path of least resistance: “ if I live with mom I can miss school and not do homework.” At this point financially I have to rely on DFACS and social workers to hold her truant. My boys missed 40+ days total last year and she avoided truancy by switching schools mid year. They also are of age to tell a judge they prefer to live with the mother. I call the schools and they pretty much blow me off.  

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So custodial parent went and filed with DCSS instead of filing contempt. Custodial parent claims arrearages ( which are false/ I have all pay receipts ). Per DCSS I have an opportunity to object to this at which I believe a hearing will be scheduled to contest this amount as well as what DCSS is claiming. DCSS is claiming child support will be the $1168 a month and not the step down amount of $988. If judge finds in my favor is there any possible ramifications / sanctions to custodial parent for filing this false arrearage? 

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