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When and how to get a child support modification

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When a divorce includes minor children, the court determines child support from the gross monthly income of both parents. Included in the support order is monetary support such as food, clothing and shelter, health insurance and education expenses. Other expenditures may consist of child care and visitation costs. 

Due to circumstances, the child support arrangement may need changing. For a fee, a parent can have the Georgia Division of Child Support Services review an order to determine if there is a need for altering the child support order. Otherwise, a parent may file a change with the court. 

Deviating from the guidelines

The court may increase or decrease the child support order by looking at the situation of both parents. A parent must prove there is a substantial change in his or her income or the financial needs of the child. Other reasons for deviating from the guidelines may include: 

  • New marriage providing additional income 
  • Cost of living increase 
  • Physical disability of either parent 
  • Change in custody 
  • Parent’s failure to follow a prior agreement 
  • Relocation 

Modifying the order

To begin the process of modifying a child support order, a parent must file a Petition for Modification of Child Support and the verification form. The verification form tells the court that the petition is true and correct. The parent must serve the other party with copies of the petition. 

As part of the modification packet, the court requires a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. The affidavit is a detailed worksheet that lists all income. Income may involve: 

  • Workers’ compensation benefits 
  • Unemployment benefits 
  • Personal injury or civil case judgments 
  • Social Security Disability benefits 
  • Bonuses 
  • Overtime payments 
  • Lottery winnings 

During the proceedings, the judge may grant a temporary order pending the final decision. The court has the discretion to change the temporary order at any time. The parent asking for the modification may provide testimony and evidence for the change in circumstances. 

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