Child Support Modifications in Gwinnett County, GA
The Basics of Child Support in Georgia
In the state of Georgia, when parents of children divorce, both parents still have the obligation to care for and support any children involved. This obligation remains intact until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school - whichever situation comes later. (If the child graduates high school before turning 18 years old, parental support still continues until that age is reached.) If the child then goes on to college or other higher education facility, there is no obligation for child support in those endeavors, unless it was agreed upon by the parents during settlement negotiations and is part of the Final Decree of Divorce. In that case, anything included in the Final Decree will fall under the jurisdiction of the courts and be enforced.
There are guidelines the courts follow in determining how much financial support will be required of each parent. It is based on the combined total monthly income generated by each parent and then prorated based on what the percentage is of each parent's income to the total amount. If either parent wants to change these guidelines, he or she must go through the courts for approval. A Gwinnett County modification lawyer should be consulted to help you initiate a modification to the original child support terms.
When should a child support modification be requested?
It often happens that circumstances change in a household over time. Examples are when one ex-spouse might lose their job and therefore income, or the ex might increase his or he income. Also, as children get older, their needs may change, requiring more, and sometimes less, support than previously required. Maybe there is a change in insurance premiums and coverage due to work circumstances, or a child may now need expensive medical treatment. Perhaps the cost of childcare changes drastically. Child support in these and similar examples might have to be modified - requiring more or less support than what was initially determined. Either parent can file a modification action, but only after the divorce is final or the initial final order of support has been signed. If the court approves the modification, it usually cannot be changed for another two years by the parent who requested it.
There are exceptions to this time limit, allowing modifications to occur before the two years:
- A modification request is based upon an unpredicted loss of income by one spouse;
- A parent who does not have custodial rights did not fulfill court-ordered visitations;
- A parent who does not have custodial rights exceeded the amount of court-ordered visitations.
A parent who wishes to modify the initial child support agreement has the burden of proving that financial circumstances have changed considerably (either higher or lower) or that there has been a significant change in the child's financial needs. The court will review the information and amend the initial agreement for child support if it is satisfied that the parent did in fact adequately prove the circumstances. The court will take into account the income of the parents as well as how much time is actually spent with the child.
The law offices of Fox Firm, P.C. are located in Lawrenceville and also serve all of Gwinnett County. They are experts in advising and guiding their clients in support modifications. There can be several reasons to either increase or decrease the support. They are dedicated to helping their clients retain their parental rights as well as helping to provide the best possible support for the child or children involved.
Contact Fox Firm, P.C. today and allow them to assess your case.
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