As part of divorce in Georgia, the court will decide how much money is expected for the support and maintenance of the children. Once the court orders child support, that order can only be changed if one of the parents seeks modification of the original order through the court.
Whether to increase or decrease the original amount, in order to properly modify child support, a parent must prove that a substantial change has occurred which affects either parent’s income and financial status or in the child’s financial needs. You can file a modification at any time after the original child support order is entered, as long as a substantial change is evident.
It’s important to understand that you cannot file for another modification again until two years have passed. However, there are a few exceptions which warrant immediate modifications.
The following are the unique exceptions to the modification motion process:
- If a parent experiences an involuntary loss of income, such as losing a job or experiences a loss of at least 25% of income
- If a noncustodial parent has failed to exercise court-ordered visitation
- If a noncustodial parent has exercised more visitation than court ordered
So if you lose your job, you are allowed to immediately file for petition to modify your child support order without adhering to the two-year rule. Another advantage if you’re out-of-work is that your child support obligation will stop accruing at the original rate once the request for modification is served to the other party. On the other side of the spectrum, if a noncustodial parent obtains a significant raise, modifying a child support order depends on a number of factors, including the size of the raise.