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Gwinnett County Family Law Blog

What circumstances may constitute a change in child support?

The application of child support is a mechanism that allows a child to be financially supported by both of his or her parents after a divorce, as well as providing a method for both parents to share in the costs associated with raising a child. Typically, when parents divorce, a child will reside primarily with one parent, known as the custodial parent. Since the child lives with that parent the majority of the time, that parent will often be responsible for a larger share of the child's expenses. By assessing child support, a court is able to balance these costs by ordering the non-custodial parent to pay a portion of their income to share in these expenses.

Most Gwinnett County parents are aware of what child support is and when it should be applied, but this knowledge may not extend to the potential modification of a child support order. Many parents may wonder when the amount of child support may be increased or decreased. The rule is that a significant change in circumstances must occur to change a child support order. What occurrences qualify as a significant change in circumstances though? Additionally, once a modification order is entered, is it in place permanently?

Musician successfully achieves child support modification

In his popular song "Beautiful Boy," John Lennon sings the following statement: "Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans." This sentiment probably rings true for many Georgia residents. Unexpected life changes and surprising occurrences pop up without warning, leaving individuals struggling to accommodate new circumstances.

Life can sometimes even get in the way of fulfilling personal and financial responsibilities. When parents lose their jobs or are forced to move for work, their child support and custody agreements can become defunct. Many other situations can arise that force parents to reevaluate how they financially support their children. They may require the assistance of family law attorneys to help them execute child custody and child support modifications.

Dividing a marital home in a Georgia divorce

For many Georgia couples, their home is their greatest asset. It is the place that contains the majority of their assets and that is worth more than any other asset that they have. While a couple's home differs from other assets because of its immense worth, it is treated the same as other assets if a couple decides to divorce, in that it must be divided during the divorce proceedings.

There are many different ways to divide the marital home. The couple can choose to sell the home and split the proceeds. If the house does not have any equity, however, the couple would have to split the loss.

Ex-wife seeks to remove parental rights of ex-husband

A family can come in all shapes and sizes these days and many children are born outside of marriage. In these instances, legal procedures may be necessary to establish the paternity of the father of the child.

A recent appellate court decision may have set a new precedent concerning paternity rights in certain circumstances. The case that led to the ruling involved a couple who divorced nearly two years after their child was born. Because the couple was married at the time of the child's birth, the husband was legally presumed to be the child's father, but after the divorce, the wife found out that another man was the father of the child as a result of their affair. The wife and the child's father have since married and she has sought to remove the husband's rights as the presumed father. The court ruled that even with this presumption and a divorce order governing custody and support rights, a husband's paternity is not permanently assumed.

Georgian men have the same rights as women to receive alimony

Historically, Georgian men have worked outside the home more often than women, and their wifes stayed home to raise their children. This has led to an inclination for men going through a divorce to be more hesitant to request or pursue spousal support than women.

A recent article highlights husbands that stay at home and take care of a couple's children, while the wife pursues her career. With this increase in lower-income husbands, there is also an increase in men requesting spousal support, pursuant to a divorce. However, men tend to drop this request more often than women. There are multiple reasons for this, including a preference for receiving a greater portion of marital property, or as a trade-off to not have to pay child support, among others.

"Apollo Nida Talked - Should I?"

Recently, news outlets have been abuzz about the sentencing of Apollo Nida, known for his recent appearance on the television show, "Real Housewives of Atlanta." Reports are saying that Nida, whose wife Phaedra Parks is an attorney, got "an enormous break" by talking to investigators and giving up information about his criminal activities. TMZ. (2014 July 8). "Housewives' Star Apollo Nida: 8 Years In Prison Sentence Shortened For SNITCHING" Retrieved from http://www.tmz.com/2014/07/08/apollo-nida-sentencing-money-fraud-charges-guilty-plea-prison. The important takeaway from these news reports is not that defendants should quickly tell investigators or police everything they know in hopes of a more appealing outcome. The better takeaway, which is unstated in many articles, is that Nida was represented by an attorney who worked to help him receive a more lenient sentence, and criminal defendants would be wise to have counsel of their own.

Georgia man arrested and jailed for failure to pay alimony

Alimony awards are based on a variety of factors and needs couples entering the divorce process should understand beforehand. A 66-year old Georgia man was recently arrested for failure to pay alimony. The man is a former University System of Georgia regent and owned a Georgia newspaper. The man allegedly failed to pay nearly $200,000 in alimony payments and has been ordered to begin making payments or remain in jail. The man was jailed without bond and is facing charges of failure to pay alimony.

Alimony, or spousal support, may be awarded during divorce proceedings to one spouse at the end of a marriage during. In general, alimony is based on the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay. There are a variety of factors that may be considered when determining an award of alimony. Factors that may be taken into account can include the standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage; the length of the marriage; the finances of each spouse; the physical and emotional health of each spouse; the amount of time and cost that will be necessary for either spouse to obtain education or training to enable employment; and contributions to the marriage by either of the spouses such as homemaking, etc.

Father seeks reimbursement of child support from ex-wife

Courts award child support as a means to prevent one parent from having to shoulder an undue portion of the expenses related to raising children. Circumstances arise, however, that may necessitate an alteration of the amount or length of such payments.

A wealthy Wall Street investment banker is seeking reimbursement from his ex-wife for $263,000 that he claims was paid for nannies that were never used. The former couple share custody of their twin children, and the man agreed to pay $40,000 per year for child support, plus costs for his ex-wife to employ a live-in nanny in the divorce decree. Those costs were determined to range between $13,000 and $85,000 at the time of the divorce. However, the man says that his children have told him that the money has been used for other purposes and that they have not used a nanny at times when his ex-wife said they were. He is seeking the previously mentioned total as reimbursement for the alleged fraud, as well as $2.5 million in punitive damages from his ex-wife.

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