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Shawn Bible - Lawyer in NW Georgia

The Use of Guardian Ad Litems in Divorce and Child custody cases

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) can appointed by  a Superior Court judge in a Divorce or Child Custody case. Generally speaking, a GAL is a person appointed by the court to investigate the situation and make a report about what would be in the child’s best interest. The GAL represents the best interest of the child and assist the court in making a decision on child custody and visitation.

A GAL is typically appointed when there are allegations of abuse, a parent with mental health or substance abuse issues, very high conflict between the parents that cannot be resolved easily, accusations of neglect and for other reasons.

The GAL typically will conduct interviews, examine the court file and other records and sometimes participate in the hearing by testifying.  The GAL must produce a written report and be available to testify if needed.

In custody cases sometimes one of the parties will ask for a GAL to be appointed.  In other cases the judge will appoint a GAL on their own authority even if the parties do not request the appointment of a GAL.

When can you modify child support?

When can you modify child support?  The law allows child support to be modified both downward and upward.  Generally speaking, there are five reasons someone can petition the court to seek an upward or downward modification in child support.  These five reasons are found in O.C.G.A. 19-6-15.

First, there has been a major change in either parents income.  Second, there’s been a substantial change in the needs of the children. Third, a parent has failed to exercise his court ordered visitation.  Fourth, the noncustodial parent has exercised substantially more visitation than was originally ordered.  Fifth, one parent has an involuntary loss of income.

However, it takes more to change child support then merely showing that one of the above five things has happened.  Even if one of these five reasons is proven it does not necessarily mean that child support  will be modified.  The parent petitioning the court to revise child support must still show that the child support modification is necessary. Also, in some circumstances a parent may not ask for modification in child support if it has been less than two years since the last child support order.

I a word of caution about child support.  Remember, that any modification of child support must be by court order.  If you are the parent obligated to pay child support never never modify what you are paying without court approval.  Doing so could land you in jail for contempt of court for not paying your court ordered child support.  Also, always make sure that you have a record of child support you are paying and never pay cash without a receipt.

If you have had a major change or income or for some other reason need to modify child support you should seek the advice of an attorney and file a modification action if needed.

Legal disclaimer: The information contained on this page and this entire website is for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.  You should always consult an attorney before taking legal action.  Reading this website or any website is not a substitute for a trained attorney.  This website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Shawn Bible Law Firm.