A judgment of divorce includes finalized court orders regarding matters such as alimony, child custody, and child support, if applicable. These orders are enforceable by the court and can only be modified through a court order. Even if both parties agree on a change, they must go through the judicial process to have the order modified. Otherwise, the modified order can’t be enforced, and both parties are technically in violation of court orders and subject to sanctions.
Modifications of court orders are also possible if the parties don’t agree on a change and only one party wants to modify the order. In this case, the party looking for a modification will need to prove there has been a substantial change in circumstances that would justify the court making a modification over the objection of the other party. The opposing party, of course, has the right to appear in court and present factual evidence and legal arguments why the proposed modification should not be made.
Kresky Law handles modification actions in Georgia courts throughout Atlanta. Our dedicated family law team works with clients to draft a proposed modification that will be approved by the court. If an agreement can’t be worked out, or when the client opposes any modification, our seasoned litigator ably represents our clients’ interests in the courtroom.
Custody and Parenting Times
Parents can agree on a change in custody, visitation or parenting times, and so long as the judge approves the modification as being in the child’s best interest, the court can modify the existing order to reflect the change. If the parents don’t agree on the change, the moving party must be ready to prove in court material conditions substantially affecting the welfare and interests of the child. An example could be the existence of an unwholesome environment in the other parent’s household, or if one of the parents wishes to move out of state or a significant distance from the other parent. In cases of parental relocations, the court will review factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, school and social ties, and the reason for relocation. The court will only approve a custody modification if convinced the change is in the child’s best interests.
If a parent’s income has changed or the child’s needs have changed, either parent or both parents together can approach the court to recalculate child support under the Georgia Child Support Guidelines (or seek or oppose a deviation from the guidelines amount). Parents can request a review with the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) based on any of the following circumstances, among others:
- A change in the income of either parent
- When the child is within six months of turning 18 years old
- If the parent paying support becomes disabled
- To add a requirement for health insurance to the support order
- If the child custody plan has changed
DCSS can review and make an Agency Recommendation on whether support should be increased, decreased or remain at the current level.
Alimony is commonly awarded in a Georgia divorce on a temporary or permanent basis to help a former spouse on the path to financial independence or to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage. That said, while an alimony award is in force, it can be modified in court based on a substantial change in circumstances, such as an increase or decrease in either party’s finances or income impacting the need for alimony or the ability to pay. Alimony can also be reduced or terminated early by the court if the receiving party is found to be living with another openly and continuously or engaged in a romantic or sexual relationship. Alimony modifications are often contested and must be litigated in court, requiring the assistance of a skilled litigator to prove or disprove the alleged facts that would justify an alimony modification.
Contact Kresky Law Today
For help obtaining a court-approved, enforceable modification of alimony, custody or support orders, or for effective representation opposing a modification of existing orders, contact Kresky Law at 404-869-5290. Our dedicated legal team has decades of experience representing the needs of clients inside and outside of Atlanta courtrooms.