I am currently paying child support to the mother of my child, and I recently lost my job. Will the court reduce my child support obligation?
Under the current law regarding the modification of child support, loss of income may be a basis for lowering your child support obligation. Generally, in an action to modify child support, either upward or downward, a party must establish that there has been a substantial change in income or financial status of either party, since the date of the original support order. Once this threshold requirement is met, your obligation to pay child support is reconsidered under the appropriate child support guidelines.

I am currently receiving child support from the father of my child, and I know that he just got a large raise from his employer. Will the court increase his child support obligation based upon his raise?
Under the current law regarding the modification of child support, increase in the obligor’s income may be a basis for increasing his child support obligation. Generally, in an action to modify child support, either upward or downward, a party must establish that there has been a substantial change in income or financial status of either party, since the date of the original support order. Once this threshold requirement is met, the father’s obligation to pay child support is reconsidered under the appropriate child support guidelines.

I am currently paying child support to my ex-wife for my daughter, and I am thinking about asking my girlfriend to become my new wife. If we were to get married, can my ex-wife seek an increase in child support based on my future wife’s income?

What factors does the court consider when determining whether to increase or decrease a parent’s child support obligation?
If you are paying or receiving child support pursuant to an order entered on or after July 1, 1986, in an action to modify child support, either upward or downward, a party must establish that there has been a substantial change in income or financial status of either party, since the date of the original support order. Once this threshold requirement is met, your obligation to pay child support is reconsidered under the appropriate child support guidelines.

If the child for which I have been paying child support elects to live with me, can I stop paying child support?
Technically, until such time as your child support obligation is terminated pursuant to an order of the Court, you are required to continue paying support to the child’s mother. However, depending upon the specific facts of your case, there is a high probability that a court would terminate your child support obligation if custody of the child is changed to you.

How often can I file to reduce/increase a child support obligation?
You can file for a modification of child support at any time after the original order establishing the support obligation has been entered. However, once child support has been modified by the court as a result of an action filed by you, you cannot file another action for modification for two (2) years from the date of the final order modifying support. If, on the other hand, the court modified child support pursuant to an action brought by your child’s other parent, there would be no limitation on when you could file for modification. See also the FAQ about the new guidelines effective July 1, 2006.

Where should I file an action to modify child support?
If the party against whom you are filing the action resides in the State of Georgia, you must file the case in the county where the party/defendant against whom you are filing resides. If the party lives outside the State of Georgia, you may be able to file in the county where you reside depending upon the specific facts of your case.

My ex spouse has filed a Motion for Contempt against me for failure to pay child support. In response to that claim, can I file an action to reduce my child support obligation?
Unless your ex spouse consents, you cannot file a claim for modification of child support under the same case number as the contempt action, and you would have to file a separate action for modification in the appropriate court.

If I file an action to modify my child support obligation downward, can my ex-spouse be ordered to pay my attorney’s fees?
Generally, in an action for the modification of child support, the court may award attorney’s fees, costs and expenses of litigation to the "prevailing" party, regardless of who files the case. However, where the obligated party, i.e., someone like yourself, files for a downward modification of child support, the law also provides that the court can require you to pay your ex-spouse’s attorney’s fees and expenses for having to defend the case. Ultimately, it’s entirely within the court’s providence to award fees or not.

My ex-spouse and I reached a verbal agreement that he or she would pay me more child support. Is it necessary for me to file any action with the court with respect to the increase?
Yes. Until the court modifies the original order on child support, your ex-spouse is not under any obligation to pay the increased amount, and if he fails to pay that support, you would have no remedy under the original order to enforce payment.

If I file an action tomorrow to increase my ex-spouse’s child support obligation, will the increase be retroactive to the date I filed the case?
No. Any modification of child support, upward or downward, is effective as of the date of the order establishing the modification.

Can I reduce my child support payment when the oldest child graduates without filing a case?
No. Only a court can modify your child support obligation. While a Court would likely reduce your obligation when a child graduates, you must ask the Court to lower the obligation. Of course, if the other parent consents, this may be done by agreement.

SOURCE: DivorceNet