If you’re thinking of filing for a modification of child support, there are a few things you should know before you get to the hearing. Primarily, you’ll want to understand the grounds on which the courts might grant modification of child support hearings, what you need to consider, and what may (or may not) hurt your case.
Understand the Legal Grounds for Modification of Child Support Hearings in Your State
Each state has its own set of legal guidelines used to determine if and when a modification of child support is appropriate. In Georgia, it’s up to the petitioning party to prove there has been a substantial change in circumstance on the part of either parent.
While the term “substantial change in circumstance” is somewhat vague, here are a few examples the courts routinely see:
- One of the parents loses his or her job
- One of the parents is hit with a severe illness or accident
- The new home location of the child requires a cost of living increase
- The child is struck with a significant physical disability or ailment
- One of the parents has a substantial increase in income
- Child custody shifts from one parent to another
There are many other reasons a modification may apply. Be sure and check with a local family law attorney to better understand whether or not you have grounds for a case.
Modifications Aren’t Always Permanent
You can apply for a temporary modification of a child support or custody agreement based on certain circumstances. While many divorced couples work out informal arrangements and modifications, it’s always best to get the official Court blessing to ensure the rule of law is followed, and you and your family are fully protected.
Get to Know the Documents…and What’s in Them
There’s a long list of forms needed to file for a modification. Skipping on or filling it out inaccurately can cause your entire case to be dismissed. You may also want to write a Declaration, summarizing the main aspects of what you’re asking for the Court to rule on during your hearing.
However, you probably don’t want to include a random assortment of bank statements, receipts, pay stubs or canceled checks. A summary highlighting the important parts will be sufficient for the court, and they can always make a request to see additional documentation in detail.
People Can’t Always Testify on Your Behalf
Contrary to what late-night television has taught us, not all cases will hear live testimony. However, if it’s relevant to the case and there are special mitigating circumstances, the Court may allow it. Ultimately, it’s a combination of filing the right paperwork and the judge making a final call.
However, you can have a lawyer prepare individual sworn statements of any witnesses and include descriptions in your summary paperwork. As with the financial and bank records, the summary may be sufficient…or the Court could request more.
Contact Us to Get the Help You Need
Still have questions? Contact the Reeder Law Firm now with your questions about modification of child support hearings.