Looking To Modify Your Georgia Divorce?
Life is never static, and as such, no divorce decree remains unchanged for long. Divorcing couples can reach an agreement about all the particulars that may work at the time, but if someone moves, or remarries, or takes a pay cut, the terms of the divorce can be untenable. Modifying your divorce decree is not particularly difficult, but it can be time-consuming and confusing, especially if you try to go it alone.
Cannot Modify At Will
It is important to keep in mind that you cannot simply decide you wish to modify your divorce decree, at least not in Georgia. Relevant state law holds that a parent cannot file to modify child support or alimony unless there has been a substantial change in either the parent’s “income and financial status” or in the child’s support needs, and even then, one can only file once every two years unless the noncustodial parent has abused or otherwise misused their parenting time, or if you need to modify your support burdens based on an “involuntary” loss of income, such as a job loss.
Certain parts of your divorce decree cannot be modified after the fact, such as asset division. If your ex-spouse received a certain asset in the divorce, that cannot be undone. However, alimony payments can usually be modified, and child support is perhaps the most common reason that people seek modification. If your child’s needs change, or if you have reason to believe that you will be unable to meet your support payments, it may be a good idea to seek modification instead of simply waiting for the inevitable.
How To File For Modification
The method for seeking modification will vary slightly depending on what you are seeking to modify. If you and your ex-spouse want to make a minor change to visitation and parenting time, you may not require an official modification. If there are major changes which are pushing you to seek modification, such as a job loss or relocation, you need to file a motion to modify your original divorce decree, in the original court that issued it.
Be advised that especially when it comes to child support, an informal agreement is not enough to legally effect a change in your obligation. If you and your ex come to an agreement about your child support payments, it must be submitted to the court and certified in order for it to be recognized, because both parents have a duty to support their minor children – in other words, the right of support belongs to the child, not the parents. The parents may not negotiate away a right that does not belong to either of them.
Contact An Experienced Attorney Today
Making a change to your support obligations or to your alimony payments can feel overwhelming, but in reality, it can be done with the right help. The Atlanta family lawyers at Buckhead Family Law can assist you with navigating the bureaucracy and negotiating with your ex-spouse. Call our office today at 404-600-1403 to schedule an appointment.