Tips On How To Modify Child Support Orders
In Georgia, the Law is very clear on how to Modify Child Support but modifying an original child support order can still be confusing for many parents that are not familiar with Georgia Family Law.
This is the reason that parents often decide not to bother with modifying child support orders even after their financial circumstances have changed to their disadvantage.
You should always consider interviewing a local Family Law Attorney that is familiar with all current laws and he/or she can make it a fairly quick process.
Often you will find that hiring a local Attorney to help you modify child support is not as costly as you think, particularly if it is possible to find a lawyer that will handle your modification at an agreed upon flat fee. Attorney Sean R. Whitworth (East Cobb Attorney) offers Flat Fees for all Family Law Services including child support modification.
If you want to modify Child Support in the State of Georgia there are some things to keep in mind.
Child Support doesn’t modify automatically
Just because your individual circumstances change does not mean that your responsibility for the court-ordered child support payments change automatically. A reduction in income or loss of job does not automatically trigger a modification.
For example; once your child reached the age of emancipation (18 in many states), many believe the child support payments end automatically. This is not the case.
This is also true when you or the other parent have a change of income. A pay cut, loss of income, or even a promotion can be grounds to modify a child support order.
It is vital you and the other parent are proactive in notifying the courts about the change of circumstances by filing a modification of child support. Though modification documentation can be found online for free or for a low fee, we do not recommend to file unrepresented.
When you modify Child Support it is rarely retroactive
When you need to modify child support due to a change of circumstances, it is imperative that you file as soon as you are aware of these changes.
In most cases, once the modifications are ordered, they will only go back to the date the request was filed.
For example; you lose your job on the 2nd of February but don’t file a motion to modify until March third, generally, the court will only consider modifying the child support order to the date the modification was filed.
In some cases, exceptions can be made. In some states a statute allows a child support order to be retroactively modified if a parent is paying less child support because of extensive parenting time. In Georgia this is not the case.
Do Not Agree to Modify Child Support Out-Of-Court
Going to court can be a painful and strenuous process, both financially and mentally. However, you should Always formally modify your child support order when circumstances change.
Formally modifying your child support simply means, filing the modifications through the court system rather than coming to an agreement with your ex out of court.
Though you may get along with your ex and co-parent wonderfully, relying on a verbal agreement means risking a contempt charge if “you haven’t been paying the court-ordered amount of child support.”
Circumstances between yourself and your ex can always change. One disagreement can lead to your ex-spouse filing a court order for contempt. Going through the court system is the only way to modify child support legally.
Keep Accurate Records
Keep extensive records of your Divorce, even after it has been finalized in court.
It is also crucial to keep accurate records of “your child support payments, medical reimbursements, daycare costs, etc.”
It can be easy as a busy working parent, to fall behind on keeping track of these things. However, if you don’t, and your ex decides to state they haven’t been receiving payments; you will be left to the misery of the court.
We highly recommend you find a system, of keeping records, that works best for you and your schedule. Doing so may mean openly sharing your financing with the government via a “withholding order.” The benefit is an efficient way of tracking your child support payments.
You can also set up an automatic payment with your bank with a memo to ensure documentation of that shows the amount was for child support. Try to avoid making payments with cash or money order without a signed receipt from the other parent. If you are paying for daycare or medical expenses, make sure to get a written receipt or keep records of automated payments for your protection.
Enter Records Into Evidence
The most detailed and accurate records will do you no good if you can’t enter them as evidence.
The rules of evidence can be extremely complicated, so it’s best to consult with a family law attorney such as Attorney Sean R. Whitworth to be sure that your modification is handled properly.
You can also email our paralegal directly to firstname.lastname@example.org