Can Changes Be Made Once A Child Support And Custody Agreement Has Been Settled?
A custody order may be modified if there has been a material change of circumstances that has occurred since the previous court order that adversely affects the best interest of the children. A child support order may be modified if there has been a substantial change in the income or financial status of either parent or the needs of the child.
How Often Are Post-judgment Actions For Child Support And Child Custody Matters Seen?
Modification actions are very common, as people’s circumstances often can and do change. There may also be other factors, such as a teenager electing to live with the non-custodial parent.
What Are Common Misunderstandings Or Misconceptions People Have Regarding Child Custody And/or Child Support Modifications?
The most common misconception people have is that a modification is just an administrative action that does not involve the court system. That is incorrect as a modification is a lawsuit in and of itself, just like the divorce action.
Also, sometimes potential clients do not understand that prevailing in a modification requires a substantive burden of proof, particularly as it relates to proving a material change in circumstances that warrants a change in custody. However, a custody order is difficult to change by its very nature because the court does not want to uproot a child from a custodial environment unless there is a very good reason; i.e., the old concept of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What Types Of Circumstances Would Result In A Child Support Order Modification?
Most often, these cases are brought for a modification downward of child support when the paying party suffers an involuntary loss of income. On the other hand, if the party receiving child support has likewise suffered a loss of income, has experienced greater financial needs as required by the child or believes the paying party has significantly increased his or her income, then these are cases in which a modification upward of child support is sought.
What Types Of Circumstances Would Result In A Child Custody Order Modification?
Circumstances that warrant a change in custody are anything that the Trier of fact deems to have developed since the previous court order and have adversely affected the child’s best interest. In the state of Georgia, these cases can only be decided by a judge and not a jury, so the judge is the finder of fact in what is referred to as a bench trial.
Judges have wide discretion in deciding if a material change of circumstances has occurred so as one may guess, it is a very subjective standard. What bothers one judge may not bother another. There is a very wide range of behaviors and actions that a parent may exhibit that could cost him or her custody of the children.
Some common reasons why parents may lose custody are as follows: substance abuse issues, mental health problems of a severe nature (such as hospitalization for depression or attempted harm to one’s self); relocation; problems with their new significant others that negatively impact the children. Another reason is just generally behaving in obvious ways that are not in keeping with the best interest and welfare of children, with a proven cause and effect.
If you have more Questions About Child Custody And Child Support, call the law offices of Stephanie Salb, P.C. for a free initial consultation at (770) 271-1843 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.