Maryland Child Support Attorneys
If you have children, then child support is one of the most important areas of family law. We know that nothing is more important to you than the well-being and happiness of your children.
Factors that can determine child support:
- Income & childcare expenses of each parent
- Any special financial needs for the child
- The child’s custody arrangement with each parent
- Each parent’s time availability
Child Support Is Not Just a Divorce Issue
Child support does not solely come up in cases of contested divorce but can be agreed upon by both spouses outside of court, like in the case of uncontested divorces. In order to file for child support, one parent must submit a formal application to request it at which time the other parent will be served a summons in order to legally determine how much support they are responsible to pay. Again, uncontested divorces are for the purpose of avoiding the courtroom, which is why with the help of a child support attorney, child support stipulations can reasonably be reached outside of court.
How is child support calculated in Maryland?
In Maryland, child support is determined under the guidelines of the Child Support Guidelines, and consists of two main elements: basic child support and “add-ons” such as childcare costs, health insurance, etc. Basic child support is calculated by multiplying both parents’ combined income by the appropriate child support percentage. This percentage is determined by the number of children that require financial support.
The child support obligation that is subsequently determined would be divided between the parents based on their contribution to the “combined parental income.” If your income makes up 30% of the combined income, the other spouse would be responsible for paying the other 70% of the child support obligation. Payments would be made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.
What if the other parent refuses to pay child support?
If the child’s parent fails to pay support as required by a court order or divorce decree, an experienced lawyer in Maryland can assist with child support enforcement actions. Under the law, the custodial parent has a right to this support, regardless of the status of child custody or visitation issues. If circumstances change, such as a material increase or decrease income, either party may petition for modifications to support. All of the same rules apply regarding child support when a same-sex marriage ends.
If I lost my job, do I still have to pay child support?
If your child support arrangement is no longer practical, either because you have fallen ill, lost your job or experienced a dramatic decrease in income, you have the option to request a modification from the court. However, it is important to understand that you cannot petition the court for a decrease simply because you are having difficulty making your payments each month. You must be able to show that a substantial and material change in circumstances has affected your ability to pay child support.
Can I seek child support even if we were never married?
Both parents, regardless of whether they were ever married, are required to provide financial support for their child. This means that you will still have the right to seek child support from the other parent if you have primary custody of the child; however, unwed mothers may need to establish paternity first. To do so, you may need to compel the father to take a DNA test. On the same note, fathers can also choose to take a paternity test if they wish to exercise their visitation or custody rights.
Who pays child support if we have joint child custody?
Even in joint custody situations, one parent still has to pay child support, as laid out by the Child Support Guidelines. Typically, the non-primary custodial parent pays support to the primary custodial parent. In cases where there is an even split of time between both parents, the parent with the higher income is generally considered the non-custodial parent for the purposes of child support. Your Maryland child support attorney can explain more.
Can my Maryland child custody order be changed or modified?
Your child custody order (as well as a child support or spousal maintenance order) can be changed. However, you must do it properly and legally. You may find, sometime down the road, that your child custody order no longer fits your or your child’s life circumstances. In cases like these, you may need to file for a child custody modification order. When you have a material change in life circumstances, consult with our lawyers at Kim & Grillo Law to find out the best options for your child.
Can my ex move out of the state with our child?
Depending on the terms of your child custody agreement, your ex-spouse may be in violation of your legal contract if they move out of state. Your divorce decree should have the terms of your custody agreement defined and, if one parent is planning a significant move, may need to be modified. If you or your ex-spouse want to relocate, contact your attorney as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one needs help with child support issues and agreements, contact us immediately for a free case evaluation. The sooner we can get access to your case file, the stronger our chances of getting you a favorable result.