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§ 19-6-53. Duties; powers; authorization to retain professional services


   (a) The commission shall have the following duties:

   (1) To study and evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of Georgia's child support guidelines;

   (2) To evaluate and consider the experiences and results in other states which utilize child support guidelines;
      (3)(A) To create and recommend to the General Assembly a child support obligation table consistent with Code Section 19-6-15. Prior to January 1, 2006, the commission shall produce the child support obligation table and provide an explanation of the underlying data and assumptions to the General Assembly by delivering copies to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
         (B)(i) The child support obligation table shall include deductions from a parent's gross income for the employee's share of the contributions for the first 6.2 percent in Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and 1.45 percent in medicare taxes.

         (ii) FICA tax withholding for high-income persons may vary during the year. Six and two-tenths percent is withheld on the first $90,000.00 of gross earnings. After the maximum $5,580.00 is withheld, no additional FICA taxes shall be withheld.

         (iii) Self-employed persons are required by law to pay the full FICA tax of 12.4 percent up to the $90,000.00 gross earnings limit and the full medicare tax rate of 2.9 percent on all earned income.

         (iv) The percentages and dollar amounts established or referenced in this subparagraph with respect to the payment of self-employment taxes shall be adjusted by the commission, as necessary, as relevant changes occur in the federal tax laws;

   (4) To determine periodically, and at least every two years, if the child support obligation table results in appropriate presumptive awards;

   (5) To identify and recommend whether and when the child support obligation table or child support guidelines should be modified;

   (6) To develop, publish, and update the child support obligation table and worksheets and schedules associated with the use of such table;

   (7) To develop or cause to be developed software and a calculator associated with the use of the child support obligation table and child support guidelines;

   (8) To develop training manuals and information to educate judges, attorneys, and litigants on the use of the child support obligation table and child support guidelines;

   (9) To collaborate with the Institute for Continuing Judicial Education, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and other agencies for the purpose of training persons who will be utilizing the child support obligation table and child support guidelines;

   (10) To make recommendations for proposed legislation;

   (11) To study the appellate courts' acceptance of discretionary appeals in domestic relations cases and the formulation of case law in the area of domestic relations;

   (12) To study alternative programs, such as mediation, collaborative practice, and pro se assistance programs, in order to reduce litigation in child support and child custody cases; and

   (13) To study the impact of having parenting time serve as a deviation to the presumptive amount of child support and make recommendations concerning the utilization of the parenting time adjustment.

(b) The commission shall have the following powers:

   (1) To evaluate the child support guidelines in Georgia and any other program or matter relative to child support in Georgia;

   (2) To request and receive data from and review the records of appropriate agencies to the greatest extent allowed by state and federal law;

   (3) To accept public or private grants, devises, and bequests;

   (4) To enter into all contracts or agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties;

   (5) To establish rules and procedures for conducting the business of the commission; and

   (6) To conduct studies, hold public meetings, collect data, or take any other action the commission deems necessary to fulfill its responsibilities.

(c) The commission shall be authorized to retain the services of auditors, attorneys, financial consultants, child care experts, economists, and other individuals or firms as determined appropriate by the commission.