Filing for a Modification of Child Support in Superior Court

This page is oriented toward filing a modification petition in a county’s Superior Court of Georgia. If you are looking for information on filing for a modification with the Georgia child support agency, click here.

First, this page has links to pages with do-it-yourself documents. They are from reliable sources. However, any decision to use the documents is to be on your part after considering your case circumstances, including whether to consult an attorney.

Information from Atlanta Legal Aid

Atlanta Legal Aid has a comprehensive set of self-help documents. They generally can be used in any county’s Superior Court.

Atlanta Legal Aid, home page

Atlanta Legal Aid’s Modification Packet

This packet from Atlanta Legal Aid is probably the best overall packet. It has a fill in the blank petition for modification AND other forms you will need. The download link is further below. But, first, a few caveats are needed.

Key Warnings about Filing Standard Forms

However, there are two VERY important issues/problems with the standard packet for Atlanta Legal Aid’s petition for modification. Their standard petition for modification of child support does NOT have the option for loss of income of 25 percent or more as the basis for not being held to a two-year waiting period. Also, their blank petition does not have the code reference for stoppage of arrearages from a 25 percent loss of income. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PETITION WITH THESE OPTIONS IF YOU HAVE HAD A RECENT MODIFICATION OR HAD A LOSS OF INCOME OF 25 PERCENT OR MORE.

Many child support obligors that are in economic distress (loss of job and/or income) very likely need to have a modification petition that looks at these issues.

All courts appear to have the same shortcomings in their self-help modification petitions.

The below modification packet is the standard packet from Atlanta Legal Aid but with the petition portion edited. The edited petition portion is taken from Dekalb County’s modification form but with new paragraphs to include an added option for loss of income of 25 percent or more to exempt the two year waiting period and to have the option of asking for stopping arrearages on the income loss “immediately” (as soon as the petition is served on the other party).

Technically, this modification form does more than limit itself to stopping arrears.  If granted, the modification would stop accrual of child support on lost income.  Whether or not you can’t scrape together full payment, the modification limits child support to actual income, acknowledging the loss in income.  That is, you should benefit whether or not there are arrearages.

Here’s the key packet that you likely want to use:

Modification packet with options for loss of 25 percent or more income and request for stoppage of arrearages: click here.

Again, all courts appear to have the same shortcomings in their self-help modification petitions. If you use packets from court sites, you likely need to substitute the below modification petition which has the options related to loss of 25 percent of income.

The following link has just the petition for modification (based on Dekalb County with additions for options related to loss of 25 percent of income)—not a packet of full documents. Click here.

You may want to use this document if using other documents required by a given county court.  If you had a loss of 25 percent in income, always use a version of the modification petition that includes invoking code sections related to that loss of income and requesting a stoppage of arrearage upon service of the petition.

Certificate of Service

Additionally, Superior Court likely requires a “Certificate of Service” as part of what you file for a modification (part of what is served on the other party and part of what is filed with the Clerk of Superior Court).  The Certificate of Service is merely a signed statement by you that you have served the other party or other party’s attorney.  The links immediately below have this form with Modification already entered as why you are serving someone.  They are based on the Fulton County form.  You will need to fill out other blanks and include this form in what is sent to the other party and also filed with the court.

Click here for pdf version

Click here for the Word version

What to Do As Soon As Possible: Two VERY important considerations:

Based on your case circumstances:

If applicable to your case, doing these two steps ASAP is important. Check your county’s web site for any forms that need to be filed at the same time and which forms can be filed slightly later.

Two Other Documents Needed When Filing a Modification

           (1) a domestic relations financial affidavit (DRFA), and

          (2) a child support worksheet at the same time as the petition for modification.

The DRFA simply shows your income, monthly expenses, payments to creditors, assets, and debts.

A form for the DFRA is in the Atlanta Legal Aid modification packet.  However, Fulton County has a county specific form that can be obtained on its court’s web site.  Click here for the direct link.

You will need to create a child support worksheet for your case.  The calculator is maintained by the Georgia Child Support Commission and the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts. The calculator now is only web based.  It is designed for you to set up a free account where you can store the worksheets that you create.  You can create many versions or scenarios and save them under separate filenames for future access.  The web site also lets you print worksheets to pdf format that you can save to your PC.

Click here to go to the Georgia Commission on Child Support home page with a link to the web calculator.

 

Other Court Sites with Self-Help Information

It is a good idea to check your county’s court site for additional information and possible special requirements for filing a modification.

Three of the best sites are for Fulton County, Dekalb County, and the Griffin Judicial Circuit (covering Fayette, Pike, Spalding, and Upson counties).

 

Superior Court of Fulton County, Family Division Packets

Packets Page, click here.

Child Support Modification Documents

Cover Sheet
Instructions for Modification of Child Support
Petition for Modification of Child Support
Case Filing Checklist
Acknowledgement of Service
Rule Nisi
Domestic Relations Case Filing Information Form
Automatic Domestic Standing Order

 

Superior Court of Dekalb County

Child Support Modification Documents

1) Instructions
2) Petition for Modification
3) Verification
4) Rule Nisi
5) Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
6) Domestic Relations Case Final Disposition Information Form
(Please obtain this form from the Superior Court Clerk’s Office.)
7) Domestic Relations Case Filing Form
(Please obtain this form from the Superior Court Clerk’s Office.)
8) Child Support Addendum
9) Child Support Worksheet And Schedules
10) Standing Order
(Please obtain this form from the Superior Court Clerk’s Office.)

11) Request For Final Hearing/Trial Date

 

Griffin Judicial Circuit, Griffin Circuit Family Law Workshop

Home page

Forms and Documents

After clicking “acknowledgements” at bottom of Forms and Documents page, then on the Forms page, look under Modification of Child Support Pack, download links for modification petition (first link under the header, Modification of Child Support Pack).

This packet has very good detailed instructions (what each blank in the form is asking for) that heavily apply to nearly identical petition forms found at other Georgia sites.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support in Georgia

General Concepts for Child Support in Georgia

A document that answers many questions about child support determination has been prepared by Rogers Economics, which specializes in child support issues.

Included are basic facts on the child support guidelines, quotes and explanations on key sections on Georgia child support code .

To go to the web page, click here.

To download the pdf file for the FAQ, click here.

Modification Issues for Child Support in Georgia

Understanding the child support guidelines code sections are key when petitioning for a modification of child support.  The document in the below link addresses timing issues (does the two year waiting period apply), what is a material change, how a loss of 25 percent in income is a special circumstance with special relief (stoppage of arrearages at the date of serving the petition on the other party), and generalities about modification procedure.

To download the pdf file on modification issues, click here.

Feel free to contact us at AffordableChildSupport.com if you feel further explanation would be helpful for these pages on modification. Email info@affordablechildsupport.com or call 678-364-9105.

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