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Modifying a child support order less than 36-months old


Parents in Georgia must provide for their children needs while they are minors. These include the basic needs food, clothing and shelter, but also the many other financial costs associated with the children, such as medical expenses, health insurance, child care, activities and many other costs. This is true whether the parents are married, living together, separated or divorced. However, when they are no longer together how each parent contributes is different and generally governed through family law by a child support order.

These orders can be in place for a long time though, and life changes over the years. The basis for the child support order may no longer exist. That is why parents can attempt to modify an existing order. But, if the child support order is less than three-years old certain requirements must be met first.

The main requirement is that there has been a substantial change in the circumstances since the time of the last order. A substantial change could be a number of different things, but examples of substantial changes are a serious injury or illness to one of the parents lasting over a year that prevents the parent from working. And, at least a 25 percent involuntary decrease in income, either parent starts receiving public assistance or there is a windfall of money. Incarceration does not establish a basis for modifying a child support order, though.

As parents in Georgia know, things change as time passes. These changes may make it difficult for a parent to continue to pay their current child support obligation. If it is a significant change, they may be able to modify the existing order to reflect the change in circumstances. These are fact specific matters though, and each one is unique. Experienced attorneys understand the law and may be a useful resource.

Source: HHS.gov, "Changing a Child Support Order in Your State" accessed on March 7, 2017

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