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Child Support Modifications

Once a Final Order and Decree of divorce has been entered in a divorce case, certain portions of the final order may be changed or modified by the court upon the petition of one or both parties. The aspects of the final order that may be modified include alimony, child custody, parenting time or visitation and child support. For more information concerning the modification of child custody and alimony, see our articles that address these topics.

Generally, the terms of a Final Order and Decree of Divorce concerning child support may be modified under the following circumstances:

  1. If the final divorce decree did not make a provision for child support, the court may modify the final order so as to provide for child support if petitioned to do so by the custodial parent;
  2. In a custody modification proceeding, the court may also modify the terms of the final order concerning the payment of child support;
  3. If there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances as defined by the Official Code of Georgia
  4. The settlement agreement or marital dissolution agreement entered into by both parties, and incorporated into the Final Order and Decree of Divorce reserve the right for the court to modify the terms of the agreement;
  5. There exists a clerical error, mistake or omission in the final judgment and decree that must be amended; or
  6. There is a mutual mistake in the terms of the incorporated settlement agreement, resulting in the final order failing to accurately reflect the true intent of the parties, and that mutual mistake must be amended to totally reflect the true and complete agreement and understanding of the parties.

See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-26(b), Beasley v. Lamb, 227 Ga. 266 (1971), Smith v. Smith, 174 Ga.App. 903 (1985), O.C.G.A. §19-6-19(a), Pearson v. Pearson, 265 Ga. 100 (1995), O.C.G.A. § 9-11-60(g), Douglas v. Cook, 266 Ga. 644 (1996).

Most often, after the entry of a Final Order and Decree of Divorce, one or both parties seek to modify the term of child support due to either a change of custody or due to a change in the income or financial circumstances of one or both parents. See our articles addressing each of these particular circumstances in detail. Additionally, in this section you will find other articles addressing the requirements necessary to successfully modify the terms of child support in your divorce decree as well as other informative articles concerning child support modification in Georgia.

Change in Circumstances

In order for a parent to seek the modification of a prior child support award, he or she must allege and show that there has been a change in the income or financial status of either former spouse or in the needs of the minor child or children…(continue reading).

Procedure

Similar to divorce actions, legal actions for the modification of child support are law suits that are generally governed by the provisions of Georgia’s Civil Practice Act. An action for the modification of child support must be initiated and tried according to the same rules of procedure that apply to divorce cases…(continue reading).

Requirements for Modification Petition

A Petition for Modification of Child Support must generally show the following in order to assert a valid claim…(continue reading).

Agreement Between Parents

As discussed in our series of articles concerning initial awards of child support in Georgia divorce and child custody matters, the parents in a divorce matter may come to an agreement regarding the terms and amount of child support. Although this agreement between the parties must be made with the Georgia Child Support Guidelines in mind, parties to a divorce action are free to agree to terms concerning…(continue reading).

Change of Custody or Visitation

Although child support is generally modified due to a change in the income or financial status of either of the parents, or due to a change in the needs of the minor child or children involved, child support may also be modified ancillary to a change of custody…(continue reading).

Foreign Child Support Orders Entered in Other States

Many parents face the issue of attempting to modify child support orders entered in other states. Modification of child support orders entered in other states are governed by a different section of Georgia law than actions to modify child support orders entered in Georgia. According to the relevant sections of Georgia law…(continue reading).