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Changing Custody, Visitation, or Child Support FAQs

What Circumstances Might Allow An Immediate Change For Custody and/or Support?

Judges are loath to issue orders for an immediate change in custody (also known as emergency custody orders). That may be true even when there is a material change in circumstances that may warrant such an order on a final basis when everyone has had their “day in court”. However, if there is an emergency situation that threatens the physical or mental well-being of the child in the opinion of the judge, he or she will act accordingly.

Some examples of emergency custody change orders include: a child disclosing that her stepfather had raped her; a custodial parent being sent to a thirty day in-patient substance abuse rehabilitation; in the home she shared with her children, a custodial parent entertaining various men she had met on the Internet, one of whom was a convicted felon.

Can Child Support and/or Custody Be Changed Temporarily? How Is The Process Different Than A Permanent Change?

A party can seek a temporary order for relief as part of the entire case for modification.

To start the modification, the party seeking a modification must file a petition in the county of residence of the defending party, although there can be exceptions to this rule.

Where Is The Petition Filed? What If The Original Order Is From Another State?

The petition is typically filed in the county of residence of the defendant. Georgia subscribes to the rule of continuing jurisdiction, meaning that if the order was issued in Georgia and at least one party still resides in Georgia, that the correct venue will be that of the Georgia’s resident’s county. If the original order is from another state and one is trying to determine the correct venue (or forum) to bring the action, it is best to consult an attorney.

How Is The Ex-spouse Or Other Parent Involved Notified About The Request To Change The Orders By The Other Spouse?

If you choose not to discuss the matter with your former spouse, they will learn of the modification action when they are served with the lawsuit.

What Happens Next If Both Parties Are In Agreement Or Disagreement?

If the parties are in agreement with the terms of the modification, an attorney can draft the required settlement and attendant documents.

However, if the parties don’t agree, then the case will have to be resolved by the court. Usually, if it is filed in the same county as the original action, then it will be heard by the same judge that handled the original agreement. In most counties in Georgia, all cases with the same parties will be assigned to the original judge.

Can A Child Support Order Be Modified Without Going Before A Judge?

Although the parties are free to reach a “gentleman’s agreement” outside of court, such an agreement will not have the force and effect of a court order.

How Often Are These Requests Granted And Successfully Resolved?

Each case is different and will rise or fall on its own merits. Generally, the more compelling circumstances a party has, the more convinced the court will be that the petitioning party be granted relief.

If you need help with Changing Custody, Visitation, or Child Support, call the law offices of Stephanie Salb, P.C. for a free initial consultation at (770) 271-1843 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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