As a seasoned family law attorney, I am often asked if a parent can get a retroactive child support modification in Georgia. For example, if one parent does not agree to the other’s request foran increase in child support, the other parent may threaten to go to court and get the child support increase retroactively, starting from the date of the original divorce decree. Fortunately, in Georgia, there are no retroactive modifications of child support so this threat holds no weight.
In Georgia, a parent can only get a child support modification going forward, from the date of the modification. The court cannot and will not modify child support from the date of the divorcedecree. This is because a parent can only receive a child support modification if “there is a substantial change in either parent’s income and financial status or the needs of the child.”OCGA §19-6-15(k)(1). Any substantial change alleged, naturally, must not have existed at the time ofthe divorce. Thus, practically speaking, even if a parent is awarded an increase in child support, the other parent will not have to make up that difference for child support payments alreadymade.
By Patrick L. Meriwether, Partner, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC