Modifying A Georgia Divorce
Contrary to the beliefs of a lot of people, divorce decrees are never set in stone. If the right procedures are followed, it is very possible to make modifications to your divorce agreement if a situation has changed enough to warrant it. The most common reasons to modify a divorce decree involve either alimony or child support/visitation, and while it is not easy to do, it is possible if you are able to show that your situation has changed sufficiently. A dedicated attorney can also be a big help in trying to have changes made.
Custody and Visitation
When one spouse seeks modification of their divorce decree, the reason is nearly always financial. Life simply does not remain the same, and an arrangement that works for you originally may become cost-prohibitive after years have passed. Georgia law allows for modifications of visitation and alimony in two situations: (1) once per two-year period, even if circumstances have not changed; and (2) if your situation has fundamentally changed enough where you believe modification is warranted.
One important distinction that must be drawn is that while visitation arrangements may be modified without any showing of changed circumstances, a custody order may not be modified unless a parent demonstrates that their situation has fundamentally changed and is able to submit a modified parenting plan that shows a change would be in the best interests of the child. It is the public policy of the state of Georgia to always act in the best interests of the child in any custody case – in other words, the best interests of the child will always be the tipping factor in any family law-related decision (if applicable).
The other major financial reason to seek a modification of your decree is alimony. Georgia courts tend to award rehabilitative alimony and periodic alimony (when it is awarded at all – it has somewhat fallen out of favor in recent years), but sometimes a lump sum will be awarded. Lump sum alimony grants cannot be modified, but any other type can be altered on a showing of changed circumstances. It is worth noting that the court is entitled to consider each spouse’s conduct in deciding on an alimony grant, regardless of whether or not your divorce is filed as ‘no-fault.’
Alimony is either temporary or permanent in Georgia, and the most common type of modification sought is to try and cease alimony payments entirely. Some may simply seek to renegotiate, but many alimony modification requests come when the obligor becomes aware that the obligee (recipient) is the one living in changed circumstances. For example, if the obligor becomes aware that the obligee is cohabitating with someone else, they may move to cease paying alimony because the obligee is being supported by someone else.
Call An Atlanta Modification Attorney Today
Divorce decrees are almost always compromises, with solutions being reached that may be materially altered later on. However, it is very difficult to do it alone. Calling an Atlanta modification attorney at Buckhead Family Law can be very helpful for navigating through the process. We are happy to try and assist you with this complex period in life. Call us today to speak to an attorney.