When deciding on a child support amount, a family law judge may consider both the financial circumstances of each parent and the needs of shared children. However, this amount may not be set in stone after divorce.
From a job loss, illness or major move to changing needs of the child, if either former spouse experiences a significant life change, he or she may be able to request review and modification of current support amounts.
1. When can a parent request modification?
The Georgia Division of Child Support Services may agree to review a payment order every several years until a child reaches adulthood. However, a parent may also specifically request a review of income, housing or other expenses that have changed significantly since the court issued the current order.
2. Which parent can ask for modification?
Either the parent making or receiving payments may request a support change. A custodial parent may ask for higher amounts after losing income, or if the child’s health, educational or other care needs have increased. A parent making payments may also request lower support amounts if he or she is no longer able to meet the current agreement.
3. How long does the modification process take?
Before approving any change, it may take several months for the Department of Child Support Services to verify parents’ income, assets and other circumstances. Providing full and honest information when requesting modification may help to prevent delays.
Whether first determining child support or considering a modification, the court may use an established, standardized formula to decide payment amounts. However, if parents can come to a fair agreement, they may be able to negotiate changes on their own terms.