Child support is necessary for taking care of a child’s needs after a divorce. From time to time life circumstances change and child support may need to be modified. This is a sensitive topic. If one parent needs more money and is going to try and change a court order the other parent may not be willing or think they should not pay more. Any changes in child support must be justified and its merits determined by a judge. Attorney Dan Mitnick has years of experience in handling Alpharetta child support matters.
How to Modify Child Support
Georgia law only allows for changes in child support every two years unless there are some very fact-specific circumstances. These circumstances include:
- If there has been a significant change in the needs of a child or either parent’s income
- If the non-custodial parent doesn’t follow through with a court’s order for visitation
- The non-custodial parent sees the child more than as court ordered (i.e. visitation)
Defining Change in Circumstances
If there has been changed circumstances to either the child or a parent, then that party can request an upward or downward modification to child support. The analysis of what constitutes enough of a change in circumstances is very fact specific. It will require review by a judge and the judge will make have the final say. A judge can consider a modification in child support under some of the following situations:
- One parent suffers 25% or greater loss of income that is involuntary (note-incarceration is excluded as a reason for the decrease in income)
- One parent gets a large windfall of money, for example winning the lottery
- One parent receives a substantial increase in pay or bonus/commission income
- The child is diagnosed with a serious illness or is in an accident which limits the custodial parent’s ability to work
- Change in physical custody
- One parent becomes disabled
- Significant and legitimate increase in the cost of living or expenses
- One parent remarries and the household income changes
Do I need a Child Support Attorney?
All child support modifications, even if the parties agree, need to be approved by a judge in court. This can be complicated. Hiring an Alpharetta child support attorney is a good idea. If your case is complicated or you have unique circumstances you may need an attorney. Some examples of these situations include:
- You expect a fight (i.e. a contested case)
- You don’t expect cooperation in obtaining necessary documents from the ex-spouse
- Your children or the ex-spouse do not reside in Georgia
- Your ex-spouse has an attorney
- You can’t find the other party
- The custody of your children is at risk
Filing a Case for Modified Child Support
You or your attorney will need to prepare the necessary court forms. Then, these documents are filed with the court, fees are paid, and the other party is served. The court will determine a date for a modification hearing. Both parents will need to provide supporting documentation regarding their financial matters. The filing party will also need to prepare a statement for the hearing. The court will then hold the hearing and listen to both sides as well as review all the documentation. The judge will decide whether the child support order should be modified.
Contact an Alpharetta Child Support Attorney
Filing child support modifications in Alpharetta can be stressful. Our office can assist with the legal filings by supporting or defending the necessity for a child support modification. Call 770-408-7000 or contact us online today to talk to attorney Dan Mitnick.