Every parent in Georgia has a moral and legal obligation to support their children. When a parent no longer has primary physical custody over their children, this obligation typically takes the form of child support payments. Family courts typically order a non-custodial parent to pay, and a failure to make support payments can have serious civil and criminal consequences.
However, child support payments are not set in stone. If either parent has experienced a significant change in circumstances, they may petition a local family court to review an existing order. This can result in a modified payment plan that still provides a child with basic necessities while lessening the burden on the paying parent.
An Atlanta, GA child support modification lawyer can guide parents through the process of making legally binding changes to a court order. A skilled child support attorney can help make the legal process easier to navigate and determine if the time is right to make these motions.
A court order for child support usually remains in effect until the child reaches adulthood, with some exceptions. However, it is common for the financial needs of a child to change over time. State law allows either parent to request a Georgia court to review their current order as well their proposed changes thereto.
However, a judge would need to evaluate whether a parent’s financial circumstances have changed significantly enough to prevent them from providing for their kids. A diagnosis of a serious illness which is expected to last for over a year that affects a parent’s ability to work as well as suffering an involuntary loss of income may justify a modification.
To petition the court for changes to a support order, parents must include copies of tax returns, pay stubs, and a personal/financial affidavit. An Atlanta attorney can help determine whether a parent’s proposed child support modification is legally viable and work toward gathering the required material.
Filing a motion to modify an existing child support order in Georgia is a lengthy process. As described above, the process begins with submitting the required paperwork to notify a local judge to review the case. An experienced attorney in Atlanta can walk people through the child support modification process before filing and better prepare them for court hearings.
The obligation to pay child support is central to family law in Georgia. Every non-custodial parent is likely subject to these requirements, which remain in place unless one party asks for a modification. If your current order is more than two years old, you may request changes at any time. Otherwise, changes may only be made to child support once every two years, unless either parent has undergone a significant change in financial circumstances.
It is essential for you to approach this process with reasonable expectations and the correct paperwork. An Atlanta, GA child support modification lawyer can help you determine whether your proposed alterations are likely to succeed, gather the necessary documentation, and ensure that the entire process goes smoothly. Call our intake team today to learn more.