A common misconception about child support orders in Georgia is that they are easily modified to account for any changed economic circumstances. The truth is that it takes much more to change the court order already in place. There needs to be a substantial change in one parent’s earnings or financial situation to require a modification.
A change in income
In most states, the unwritten rule is that the change in income must be 25% or greater to require a modification. Many parents think that it is enough when the other parent receives their annual raise. They end up filing for the modification only to learn that it was not enough. The same holds true when one parent has a slight drop in their income. However, parents may also qualify for a modification when their financial situation otherwise changes, such as when they have a large increase in their expenses.
Making the request
When a parent wants to request a modification, they should contact the Office of Child Support Enforcement. In Georgia, one can request a modification once every two years. Once they file, they lose the right to file until the period resets even if they are unsuccessful. Accordingly, a parent needs to be careful not to waste their chance to request a modification because they will lose the right for some time. They should have some idea beforehand that they would be entitled to it as a matter of law.
If one is dealing with a child support modification, the case can have high stakes. Depending on how the court rules, their standard of living can be greatly impacted. Accordingly, they should retain a child support modification attorney to represent their interests as the case proceeds. Each parent will have their chance to argue why the court should or should not grant a modification.