Under What Circumstances Could Custody Or Visitation Orders Be Changed Under Georgia State Law?
Under Georgia law, you have to show one or more material changes of circumstances that affect the wellbeing of the child or children in order to seek a modification to a custody or visitation order. A common example is when one of the two parties moves far away. At that point, the normal visitation plan won’t work and you will want to seek a modification. Another example would be if one parent or the other suddenly became not so good of a parent. Perhaps they are having alcohol abuse or drug abuse issues or they are facing criminal charges. That would be a material change of circumstance warranting a modification. Just because you have a material change of circumstances does not mean you will get the change that you want. It provides you the legal basis to file for a modification in court. It will still be up to the judge to decide whether or not a change is appropriate and in the best interest of the child or children.
What Exactly Is The Process, If I Want To Request A Modification To A Custody Or Child Support Matter In Georgia?
You would file a petition to modify custody, a petition to modify child support, or a petition to modify both. If custody is going to be modified, then you will also be addressing modifying child support to meet the new circumstances. That petition will be filed with the superior court; it will be served upon the other party and you will proceed down the road of a normal superior court case. You will be allowed 30 days to file an answer or response, engage in discovery, and have one or more hearings, including a final hearing.
Can A Request To Modify A Custody Visitation Or Support Order Be Challenged Or Opposed By The Other Party?
Not only can a modification be opposed, the other party can also file a counterclaim seeking to change or modify it in a way that they want versus what you are asking for. You might start trying to modify a parenting plan to get more visitation or to get custody but if your case isn’t prepared or presented correctly, you could end up worse off than you started. This is all the more reason to speak with an attorney before you file a modification of custody or support issue. When it comes to child support, I always offer to run the numbers for a prospective client first to see if it is really going to make a difference. Sometimes, they find that they are going to be worse off rather than better off.
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