470-947-2471 | Georgia Child Support Modification Lawyers

Georgia Divorce, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Business Immigration Lawyers

Child Support Modification – Georgia Attorneys

If you need to modify an existing child support court order, the family law attorneys at Coleman Legal Group, LLC can help.

In an action to modify a child support order, either upward or downward, a parent must prove that there has been a substantial change in either parent’s income and financial status or in the child’s financial needs since the original child support order was entered. A parent must wait for two (2) years after making a previous request to modify child support to ask for a subsequent modification.

There are three (3) notable exceptions to the two (2) year rule where an action to modify child support can be filed at any time. These exceptions are:

  • the request for modification is based on the parent’s involuntary loss of income. This is usually in the form of reduced income or the loss of a job; and/or
  • the noncustodial parent has failed to exercise court-ordered visitation, and/or
  • the noncustodial parent has exercised more visitation than the court ordered.

If any of the above three conditions are met, an action to modify child support is reconsidered under the Georgia child support guidelines, based on each parent’s income and time spent with the child.

Involuntary Reduction of Income

The court can reduce your child support if you lose your job or if your income is reduced. If you involuntarily lose your job, Georgia law gives you the right to immediately file an action to modify your child support obligation. A party generally has to wait at least two (2) years after filing for a previous modification of child support to file a new request. However, a parent that loses a job or suffers another hardship that results in a loss of at least twenty five percent (25%) of that parent’s income may file for modification of child support right away — whether or not two (2) years have passed.

It is important to note that the filing parent’s child support obligation will stop accruing at the original rate once the request for modification is served on the other party. If you have lost your job or your income has been reduced, you should speak with one of our Georgia Family Attorneys about filing a mediation as soon as possible.

Increases in the Child Support Obligation

Likewise, the court may increase a party’s child support obligation because he/she got a raise in their income. In an action to modify child support, the filing party must establish that there has been a substantial change in the income and the financial status of either parent. Otherwise, the filing parent must show a substantial change in the financial needs of the child since the date of the original support order.

Although not common, if you get remarried, the court can increase a party’s child support based on the new spouse’s income. As in other child support modification actions, the filing parent must establish that there has been a substantial change in income and financial status of either parent or in the financial needs of the child, since the date of the original support order. Specifically, to prevail, the parent requesting the modification must prove that the remarriage resulted in a substantial increase in the other parties income / financial situation. In the alternative, it is also common for remarriage to result in a downward change in a parent’s overall financial situation. Specifically, the court will also consider the possibility that the party that has remarried has also increased their financial obligations to their new spouse and their new spouse’s children and dependents.

A Court Order is Required to Modify Child Support

It is also important to note that you cannot unilaterally reduce or stop my child support payment when your child graduates from high school or turns eighteen (18) years of age. Although the court will likely reduce your obligation when a child graduates from high school or turns eighteen (18) years of age, you must file for a modification to legally lower or terminate your child support obligation.

We frequently are asked if a parent can stop paying child support if the child comes to live with them. As in all other circumstances, until your child support obligation is legally terminated by the court, a party is required to continue paying support to the other parent. Fortunately though, it is likely that the court will terminate your child support obligation once the court has had time to consider a motion for a modification based on these facts.

There are limits to how often you can file for a modification of child support. Initially, a party can file for a child support modification any time after the original child support order is entered. However, once the first modification is filed by a party, a motion to modify child support cannot be filed by the same party until two (2) years have passed, unless one of the recognized exceptions listed above applies.

For a modification in child support to be enforceable, the court must have modified the original order on child support. Otherwise, even if there is a verbal or signed agreement between the parties, the other party is under no legal obligation to pay the increased amount.

It is important to note, that modifications for child support are not retroactive to the date the case is filed. A modification of child support (upward or downward) is effective as of the date of the order modifying the child support. Again, there is an exception to this rule when a party files to modify child support based on an involuntary job loss or other loss of income. In these cases, the portion of child support directly related to the lost income will stop accruing as of the date the party files to modify child support and the other party is served with the petition.

Divorce and Family Law – Georgia Areas We Serve

Our Georgia divorce lawyers and family law attorneys handle cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Duluth, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Sharon Springs, Suwanee, Marietta, Woodstock, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Gainesville, Midtown Atlanta, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Kennesaw, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings, Smyrna, Buford, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Decatur, Grant Park, East Atlanta and the Virginia Highlands.

Our Georgia divorce lawyers and family law attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette and Clayton.

Our main office is located in Alpharetta Georgia at: 11539 Park Woods Circle, Suite 304, Alpharetta, GA 30005.  We also have offices conveniently located at:

Alpharetta Georgia
Park Woods Commons
11539 Park Woods Circle
Suite 304
Alpharetta, GA 30005
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

Atlanta Georgia
Colony Square
1201 Peachtree Street, 400
Colony Square, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30361
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

Dunwoody, Sandy Springs
GA 400, Atlanta Georgia
1200 Abernathy Rd
Building 600
Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

Cumming Georgia
The Avenue Forsyth
410 Peachtree Parkway
Building 400, Suite 4245
Cumming, GA 30041
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

Johns Creek, Duluth GA
11555 Medlock Bridge Road
Suite 100
Johns Creek, GA 30097
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

Duluth Georgia
2180 Satellite Boulevard
Suite 400
Duluth, GA 30097
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

Kennesaw Georgia
TownPark Center
125 TownPark Drive
Suite 300
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

1755 North Brown Road
Suite 200
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Phone: 470-947-2471 | Map

Copyright © 2023 | Coleman Legal Group, LLC | All Rights Reserved. Coleman Legal Group, LLC • 11539 Park Woods Circle, Suite 304 • Alpharetta, Georgia 30005 • 470-947-2471 DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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Updated:  2022-01-20