The divorce process is a time consuming and often stressful experience. Most divorces in the United States are contested, meaning both parties were unable to agree on major things. Couples who are unable to agree on major issues spend a long time negotiating through their attorneys. After couples have worked out all of their issues and the divorce is finalized, many ex-spouses never have a reason to enter a courthouse again. However, there are times when changes need to be made to an agreement for various reasons. Understanding the reasons for most post-divorce modifications in Georgia helps adults to prepare themselves for possible future issues.
Child support and alimony payments often need modification as the personal and financial circumstances of all parties change over time. The Georgia Division of Child Support Services is able to review an existing child support order as is the judge who signed off on a support order that is not managed by the Division of Child Support Services. Child support can be modified if either parent experiences a significant change of income, the child turns 18, or the minor child no longer lives with the custodial parents. Past due balances for child support owed cannot be changed. Alimony support in Georgia is not as easily modified, but periodic alimony payments can be modified if the judge believes the change is warranted. An alimony payment that was made in one lump sum in the past cannot be changed.
Parents can request changes in parenting time (visitation) once every two years. Modifications to visitation are often made when circumstances change that make the court ordered visitations impractical. When parenting time changes are made the judge who ordered the original schedule will review the modified plan. Depending on the ages of the children, they may be consulted regarding the new visitation agreement. Ultimately the best interests of the child are taken into account when the judge is reviewing visitation modification requests.
Modifying child custody is more difficult than requesting changes to support payments or parenting time. The party requesting the change needs to show that there is a significant reason for the change in custody. A significant material change that substantially affects the welfare and interest of the child is required to receive a custody change. Facts need to be presented that show the judge why the custody change is necessary and best for the child. There is no waiting period between requesting child custody modifications, but obtaining a change in custody is harder than obtaining any other type of modifications.
Contacting an Attorney
Requesting modifications is not something that should be attempted without legal help. Though the process is less time consuming than an initial divorce or custody case, it is still difficult. Contacting a qualified family child support attorney is the best thing to do if you are interested in having support payments, custody, or visitation modified. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum can provide you with the legal advice you need when requesting a modification. With offices conveniently located in Alpharetta, Lawrenceville, Cummings, and Marietta contact our law firm today at 678-736-7700 to schedule a consultation to discuss your unique situation.