A divorce decree is the Court’s final ruling and judgment order which makes the termination of a marriage official. There are several reasons that modifications of divorce settlements are filed. Factors can change months or even years after the settlement has been reached. For instance, increases and decreases in income can affect the ability to satisfy support payment obligations and lifestyle changes can impact custody arrangements.
A party can seek a modification any time after a final divorce decree has been ordered by the Court. However, in order to be successful in obtaining a modification a substantial change of circumstances since the entry of the original order must be shown. The loss of a job is a common example of this. Georgia law provides the right to apply for a modification of a child support obligation when there is loss of employment. A parent who loses a job or suffers a financial setback that results in a loss of 25% or more of income is eligible. An increase in income can also be a substantial change of circumstances which would warrant a modification. In the context of child support payments, once this threshold requirement is met the parent’s obligation to pay support will be reconsidered under the appropriate guidelines.
A judge may consider increasing or decreasing child support for the following reasons:
- The needs of the child or children have increased
- Increase or decrease in income of the paying parent
- Physical disability of a parent
- Remarriage of a parent
A significant change in a parent’s or spouse’s lifestyle can have an effect on the financial obligation they are responsible to pay. Divorce decrees, once ordered, are intended to be final. However, the terms of a final divorce settlement can be revisited under certain circumstances. If the circumstances of your divorce settlement have changed you should contact a Douglasville Divorce and Family Law Attorney to discuss your case today.