When parents of a child or children are not together or married, courts will often order one of the parents to pay child support. All parents are responsible for supporting their children, but when a couple separates or divorces, one parent might end up with the greater financial burden of caring for a child. Child support is the court’s way of ensuring that both parents provide for their children.
Support obligations will vary depending on the facts of each case, and specifically the overnight custody arrangements for the minor children; as well as the income of each parent. The income of anyone can change drastically over time. A support order for a two-year-old child should be modified before the child reaches high school, or depending on the circumstances and needs of the parties and the child.
A lot can happen in sixteen or seventeen years. If you are a parent who pays or receives child support and believe that the set amount is no longer feasible, reasonable, or adequate for your situation, contact a Bethesda child support modifications lawyer. A dedicated child support attorney can help you make a case for modifying support payments to meet your changed circumstances.
When Do Income Changes Lead to Child Support Modifications?
There are valid economic reasons to change support, but there are also times when a court will not modify support even though the parents’ work situations altered. If a person loses their employment and cannot make the payments, the court may agree to modify the support award. However, if the parent paying support quit their job voluntarily, the court may refuse to modify the award and find that the paying parent voluntarily impoverished his or herself, and the parent will have to find a way to continue to make the ordered payments.
The court cannot order a person to work at a specific job but will look at the parent’s earning capacity in the past and their education and their efforts to find substitute employment. There are, however, cases when someone may cut back on or take time off work for valid health-related or other reasons, which the court may not penalize.
Courts will also look at the parent receiving the support in a similar manner. A judge must comply with the requirements of Maryland law and the Maryland Child Support Guidelines which are mandatory. Parents grappling with these questions should reach out to a Bethesda child support modification attorney.
Will a Change in the Parenting Schedule Cause a Change in Child Support?
A modification to the parenting schedule might change child support obligations. The parenting schedule is one of the factors that impact the amount of support one parent owes the other, in an extreme change, such as when the child shifts from spending the bulk of their time with one parent to spending more nights at the other parent’s house, the parent paying support may become the support recipient.
Less drastic modifications of a schedule may also lead to a change in child support obligations, but only depending on the overnight access of the parent and child. If a child is spending more overnights with the parent who is the obligor, that parent will presumably be covering more childcare-related costs now that the child is under their care more often. A court may modify the payment amounts to reflect the shift in the schedule.
The schedule modifications and the support modifications should be addressed by the court. Any parents looking to make such changes should reach out to a Bethesda lawyer.
Hiring a Bethesda Child Support Modification Attorney
If you pay or receive child support, you know how much those payments can impact your finances. While child support is the right of the child, it should reflect the circumstances in the family. If the family circumstances change, the support may also need to modify.
No one should ever attempt to modify support on their own. If you are looking to change your child support order, contact a Bethesda child support modification lawyer.