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Child Support Modifications On The Rise

As a Divorce Lawyer in Metropolitan Atlanta, what once appeared as an unusual event, people forgoing divorce due to economic conditions, is now becoming more common. Certainly, couples willingness to spend funds on protracted litigation is becoming more the rule than ever in the past. That being said, I have seen a tremendous upsurge in parties seeking to modify their existing child support obligations. Georgia’s Child Support Guidelines recently joined the rest of the United States in apportioning support based, in part, on the income of both parents. This, along with a number of other financial factors, has created a more complex, but arguably more reasonable system for assessing support.

In Georgia, to modify child support you must make a showing of a substantial change in either parent’s income or financial status, or a change in the needs of the children. O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(k)(1). These days, the most common substantial change is the loss of a job,. However, it could also include significant reductions in pay, having to move a substantial distance from the minor children for work, or any number of other financial calamities that are befalling families in our current economic situation. It should also be noted that the substantial change must occur after the date of the original divorce decree or order establishing child support
It should be noted that you can only bring a modification action every two years after the date of the last modification. The exceptions to this are that you can bring a modification action :

(1) If the non-custodial parent has failed to exercise court ordered visitation;
(2) if the non-custodial parent has exercised more visitation than provided in the court order; or
(3) the modification action is based upon an involuntary loss of income. O.C.G.A. §19-6-15(k)(2)(A) – (C).

Also, always remember that verbal modifications between the parties have no force and effect (except in very limited circumstances) and if you want to properly effect a modification, the Court can only begin the process from the date you file an action and not from the date you lose your job, or suffer some other financial setback.

Give SHAPIRO LAW GROUP a call at (678) 929-1124 to discuss the specifics of your matter