In Georgia, child support payments are calculated to cover all the minor children in a household. However, when an older child reaches 18 years of age (aka “ages out”), the child support obligation changes to reflect the fewer number of minor children in the household. In a case that has been fully resolved, filing a Modification of Child Support is usually necessary to adjust the child support figure. For those currently going through a divorce and expecting their oldest child to age out in just a few months or years, can the parties agree for an automatic adjustment of child support to occur when the oldest child ages out? How do Judges in Georgia perceive such automatic adjustments in Settlement Agreements?
At a conference for matrimonial lawyers held by the Georgia State Bar, a few Judges responded to this exact question. All of the Judges on this panel, including a Judge from Cobb County, Fulton County, and Gwinnett County, all indicated that they would allow the automatic adjustments only if the change was foreseeable. For these Judges, this meant that the oldest child would age out within a matter of 6-8 months. If not within this time frame, these Judges all indicated that they would be unlikely to accept automatic adjustments and that filing a Modification of Child Support would be the proper procedure.