Each year parents throughout the United States pay or receive over $30 billion dollars in child support. Job loss, wage reduction, and other unforeseen events often impact a noncustodial parent’s ability to make timely payments, leading to 25% child support default rate. Requesting a child support modification is an option available for those who cannot afford to pay their current court ordered support amount and do not want to fall in arrears. Unfortunately, filing for a child support modification does not mean that your request will automatically be granted. Understanding why your child support modification request was denied can increase your chances of successfully obtaining a modification in the future.
No Substantial Change in Circumstances
Before a child support modification is granted, the court needs to see proof that one or both parent experienced a substantial change in circumstances. A substantial change could be considered the loss of a job or your former spouse obtaining a job after previously being unemployed. Examples of substantial changes include:
- Beginning to Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families;
- Receiving a diagnosis of a serious illness or condition expected to last more than a year affecting the party’s ability to work;
- Receiving a sudden windfall such as an inheritance or lottery winnings.
The change must be something that you can prove to the court and typically it should be at least a 25% change in income. Remember, the burden of proof is often the responsibility of the individual requesting the modification. You must prepare yourself to show evidence that income or other major changes have occurred in your household or the household of the other parent.
Voluntary Income Loss
Georgia requires that any change of income that is used to request a child support modification be a change that was involuntary. Deciding to quit a job, reduce hours, or start a new lower-paying business venture are all voluntary. Leaving a job to return to college or deciding to move to a neighborhood that is more expensive are usually not acceptable reasons to have child support amounts changed. Requesting a modification after losing income due to a choice that you made usually results in the request being denied.
Too Many Requests
There is a limit to the number of child support modification requests that a person can make in a certain time frame. Child support orders that were reviewed less than 36 months before your most recent modification request are only permitted if a significant change has occurred. If you file a modification request for an insignificant reason such as you do not believe the amount is fair and later need a modification because of a medical issue, you could find yourself in a difficult situation. Filing a new modification request soon after a previous request was denied requires additional paperwork and is often much more time consuming.
Get Modification Advice
If you or someone close to you wants to request a support modification, contacting a modification attorney is something that you should consider. An attorney who is familiar with current state laws can verify that you have a valid reason for requesting the change and help you during every stage of the process. The team at Vayman & Teitelbaum is prepared to help you request a modification and work with you until you achieve the outcome that you desire. With four offices located throughout the Atlanta, Georgia, area we can provide you with convenient and zealous legal representation. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 to schedule an initial consultation.