Georgia parents raising a child alone rely on child support to help meet their child’s needs and provide them with the best possible quality of life. Parents paying child support have a legal obligation to make sure the support gets paid.
However, as most everyone knows, life can be unpredictable, and there is likely to come a time when you may need your amount of child support increased or decreased.
You must have a substantial change in circumstances
Under Georgia law, a child support order can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances. This standard applies to both parents.
This means that if you are the parent paying child support and suddenly lose your job or your monthly expenses increase, you can petition the court to decrease your child support. If you are the parent receiving child support and your situation changes, you can petition for an increase in support.
Do not assume that if your circumstances have legitimately changed, your petition to modify child support will automatically be granted. The court examines various factors, including the overall financial situations of both parents.
Prepare for any outcome
The reality is that sometimes there is just not enough money to go around. For example, if the court determines that your situation requires a child support increase, but then the other parent could not afford to pay rent, your requested amount may not be granted. The court could keep the amount the same, increase it only slightly, or even decrease it.
These situations can be particularly difficult for parents who want the best for their child, especially in an uncertain economy. Georgia courts do not regularly review child support orders to determine if the amounts are still appropriate or to make standard of living adjustments.
Therefore, as a parent either receiving or paying child support, it is up to you to file a modification petition. Attorneys experienced with family law can provide helpful advice and guidance on your specific situation.