When one former spouse appeal the Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce, the pendency of the appeal often leaves both former spouses wondering: “During the appeal, which child support order should I follow?” Often, in the course of a Georgia divorce, courts enter temporary orders directing parties on issues such as child support, child custody, and alimony until the divorce is finalized. Alternatively, parties may enter into temporary agreements regarding child custody, child support and alimony until the divorce is final. Once the divorce is finalized however, parties must abide by the terms of the final decree of divorce.
But, in cases where one former spouse seeks to appeal the final divorce decree, conflict may arise regarding which child support order to follow. One former spouse may argue that the final order should control until the appeal is finalized, while the other former spouse may argue that the temporary order should continue to control while the final order is being appeal, because the divorce decree should not be viewed as final until the appellate court affirms it. Although there is logic in both lines of thought, The Georgia Supreme Court resolved this issue in 2010, when it held that as it relates to child support orders, the temporary child support order entered by the court during the pendency of the divorce controls until the appeal is finalized. Robinson v. Robinson, 287 Ga. 842 (2010). Put plainly, while the appeal is pending, parties should follow the temporary child support order, not the child support order contained in the Final Order and Decree of Divorce.