Modification and Contempt


Any modifications that need to be made to a standing family court order, such as child support, must be handled through the courts. If you, or the parent who pays child support, have experienced a substantial change in circumstances, such as the loss of a job or an increase in income, the courts can order a modification to the existing order to ensure that the child's needs are being met through the support payments. The order that requires modification are court orders affecting or establishing child support, custody visitation, and most alimony orders.

It is important to know that you cannot just change your child support or alimony payments or stop paying them altogether without first gaining approval from the court. If you fail to do this, a contempt action may be filed against you. We can help you understand the proper process to obtain a modification and represent your interests throughout the entire matter. Relocating can be another reason to modify the previous order where a job change or remarriage necessitates a significant relocation. That issue will need to come before the court to rediscuss custody/visitation issues. Frequently the parties can agree to the new terms of the order and those can be resolved for court approval on an uncontested basis. If they cannot agree then modification will be tried by the court similar to the original proceeding. The court will modify the order if there is a substantial change which affects the child or parties.


If a party violates a family court order, it is possible that a contempt action may be filed against the offending party. You may have to go to jail if you are held in contempt. Some examples of contempt include:

  • A party had the means to pay child support or make alimony payments but intentionally refused to make such payments.
  • A party arbitrarily changed the amount of support he or she is paying.

Please note, a party cannot ask for a modification after that party has been served with a contempt action. A party must first address the contempt action before taking any action to modify the order he or she is accused of violating.


If a party's family court order was established in another state but must now be enforced in Georgia, there are certain steps that must be taken. Our firm can help you enforce the order by domesticating the out of state order into the appropriate superior court in Georgia and fully understands how to handle any issues that arise.

For more information about how to handle modification and contempt issues involving child support, child custody or alimony, contact the Alpharetta law office of Ronald E. Dobelstein, P.C., today. Mr. Dobelstein has over 25 years of experience handling modification and contempt issues for his clients. Schedule an appointment to determine the best way to proceed.

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