Posted On: February 6, 2009

Can my final divorce decree be modified in Georgia?

In Georgia, whether your divorce is resolved through a Settlement Agreement or with a final trial, the terms of the divorce will ultimately become an Order of the Court. Court Orders in divorce cases can be modified in limited circumstances. Specifically, Court Orders for child support, periodic alimony and rehabilitative alimony (but not lump sum alimony) may be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in your or your spouse’s financial circumstances, or your children’s circumstances. You can only bring a modification once every two years so keep this in mind when deciding whether to file a modification. Any modification of these Orders must be done prospectively. This means that the Court can only modify these Orders from the date of the filing of a petition. The Court cannot retroactively modify Court Orders. Any agreements to modify a Court Order must be in writing, executed by both parties and entered by the Court as an Order or such an agreement is not binding.

If a parent who has been awarded custody under a custody order of any type intends to move to a residence that is outside the state or a considerable distance from your home, the Court may consider the wisdom of the move. Do not wait until after the move to discuss this issue with an attorney. In Georgia, you must give at least thirty (30) days advance notice to your former spouse. Your settlement agreement may have additional requirements.

Orders of the Court regarding division of property are not modifiable at any future date. They can be changed only by amending the Final Decree, an appeal to the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of Georgia, or by written agreement signed by both parties and filed with the court as an order.