Written by attorney Douglas Nathan Fox

Reasons for Child Support Modification in Georgia

When it comes to paying and receiving child support, they are subject to change and are not necessarily permanent.

Whenever either party has experienced a significant change in circumstances, it may warrant a child support modification. A child support modification refers to a change in how much someone pays or receives child support. Either parent has the right to request a modification of child support when there has been a substantial change in their circumstances, or the circumstances of the other parent.

Reasons for modifying child support

Every state handles child support laws a little differently. In Georgia, there are a number of reasons why the courts may consider modifying child support; however, the burden of proof will be on the petitioning party. In Georgia, a judge may consider increasing or decreasing child support for the following reasons:

  • The paying party involuntarily loses their job or falls ill;
  • Either parent receives additional income through remarriage;
  • Cost of living increase;
  • Physical disability on behalf of either parent;
  • The needs of the child increase;
  • A significant increase in the income of the paying parent; and
  • A change in custody of the child; for instance, the child moves in with the paying parent.

How to modify child support

It is up to the petitioning party to establish that there has been a significant change in circumstances in order to get an upward or downward modification.

Keep in mind that in order for a change to take effect, you must get a court order from the judge. Even if there is a verbal agreement between you and your ex, it will not be legally binding.

You would still be expected to pay child support even if your child moved in with you. Until there is an official order by the judge, you will have to adhere to the previous court order, and child support orders are not retroactive. Until there has been a modification, you will be responsible for paying child support as per the standing court order.

Who pays attorney fees?

In Georgia, there are circumstances where the court may award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party, regardless of who filed the case. Whether or not the court awards attorneys fees will be on a case-by-case basis; however, it is entirely possible that attorney’s fees may be awarded.

Since downward and upward modifications are usually very important to the petitioning party, it is always a good idea to discuss your situation with a child support attorney before moving forward.

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