Question: I am writing because I pay too much child support. I have three jobs. I work in Marietta, Woodstock and in Smyrna. I make decent money but nothing great. When I got divorced five years ago I actually made more money than I do today.
But my ex-wife took me back to court and got the child support modified so I have to pay even more money. We went to the Cobb County Superior Court. The reason we divorced was that my wife developed a cocaine habit and I caught her cheating on me.
The problem is the judge just didn't like me. He pretty much said that. I understand that with four kids you pay a lot of child support. But the amount that I'm paying makes it hard to pay for my car, house and my small boat. I've given up golf, hunting and I rarely drink anymore.
Since the judge dislikes me, I'd like to try to get my child support modified by another judge. I'd like to bring a case in federal court so the judge won't know me and will be fair. Can you help me bring my child support case in federal court?
K.G. in East Cobb, Georgia
Answer: You cannot bring your child support modification case in a federal district court. The only place to attempt to have the child support order modified is in the Cobb County Superior Court, where the support order was entered.
A federal district court lacks jurisdiction to invalidate or otherwise review a state court's decision in a support matter. Ankenbrandt v. Richards, 504 U.S. 689 (1992). The United States Supreme Court held that the domestic relations exception to federal jurisdiction "divests the federal courts of power to issue divorce, alimony, and child custody decrees.”
And in D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983), the Court held that district courts do not have jurisdiction to review state court decisions or claims "inextricably intertwined" with the merits of the state court determination. Your matter is, of course, a state court determination.
If your present financial circumstances change, then you may be able to successfully modify your child support.
Need information and answers from an East Cobb child support lawyer? We're always here to help you. Call us now at 678-215-4106.
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