Frequently Asked Questions about Modifying Child Support
So you’ve divorced or separated from your ex-spouse. A child support order was put into place. Now something has happened and it is time to modify that agreement. Earnings have been up, expenses have been unusual, or some other circumstances have caused you to reevaluate your child support obligation. Under what conditions can child support be modified? How do you go about doing so? The following helps to answer these questions, although it is still in your best interests to reach out to an attorney for professional help.
What If I Lose or Gain Earnings?
To modify child support, there must be a showing that there has been a substantial change in income or the financial status of a parent or in the financial needs of the child or children. If you lose your job in Georgia, you can immediately file a petition to modify your child support obligation. If you see a substantial increase in income, your ex-spouse may petition the court to modify the child support order as well on the same grounds, a substantial change in circumstances.
What If I Remarry?
Remarriage can provide the substantial change in circumstances necessary for a child support modification to be filed and approved. On one hand, remarriage may mean a substantial increase in income, financial stability, or improvement in your financial status. This could mean increased child support payments in the event that your ex-spouse requests a modification. Alternatively, remarriage can mean a decline in income and financial status if you have new obligations to care for a new spouse or other children. Therefore, the effect of remarriage on your child support obligation depends on the marriage you enter and your resources and financial status before and after the remarriage.
What Factors Are Considered When Child Support Obligations are Modified?
As mentioned above, generally there must be a showing that there has been a substantial change. In an action to modify a standing child support order, the court will consider a variety of factors including the financial status and income of the parents, the needs of the child, whether parents have engaged in visitation with the child or children, where the child lives and spends most of his or her time, etc. Other, lesser considerations include whether and who covers the child with health insurance and life insurance, whether alimony has been ordered and how much, whether a party is making mortgage payments, and whether there are any special expenses.
What If My Child Graduates?
The duty to provide support for a minor child continues until the child graduates from secondary school (high school), reaches the age of majority, dies, marries, or becomes emancipated, whichever occurs first. Only a court can modify child support obligations. They may do so if a child graduates but are not obligated to do so. (The order will specifically state that the obligation ends upon the aforementioned, as such there is no need for a modification or court intervention).
How Do I Modify My Child Support Obligation?
The best way to petition a court to modify your child support obligation is to do so with the help of a family law attorney who can guide you through the process. If you need to file to reduce or increase a child support obligation, turn to an experienced legal professional. Contact an Atlanta child support lawyer at The Solomon Firm at 404-565-0641 today.