Carlson vs. Carlson, 284 Ga. 143, 663 S.E.2d 673 (2008).
In the parties’ divorce, the ex-husband was granted sole custody of their children and the ex-wife was granted supervised visitation with the parties dividing such expenses. Subsequently, the ex-husband filed a motion for contempt against his ex-wife, alleging her non-compliance with their divorce decree. Specifically, he alleged that she did not obtain certain mental health therapy. After a hearing, the trial court found the ex-wife in contempt for not obtaining the mental health therapy that was previously ordered. The trial judge then made the ex-wife completely responsible for the supervision expenses and she appealed, contending that it was an impermissible modification of the divorce decree.
The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed the trial court decision. Although, a trial court cannot modify the terms of a divorce decree in a contempt proceeding, an exception is made with regard to visitation. Trial courts are specifically authorized to modify visitation rights during a contempt proceeding. As the costs at issue were directly related to the ex-wife’s visitation privileges, the trial court did not improperly modify the terms of the divorce decree.