Child support payments help a parent provide for their child. Courts use calculations based on the parties’ gross incomes to arrive at support amounts. Of course, income levels can change for many reasons, and support amounts may need altering to reflect the parties’ different income levels. It is possible to change child support, but the party wishing to alter payments should go through the court and official channels when seeking such modifications.
If you lost your job or got a raise, you may need to modify your support obligations. Parents receiving support may also seek modifications because of income changes or changes in the needs of the children. When it comes to changing support payments, it is important to speak to a child support lawyer. A local attorney can help you understand your options regarding Maryland child support modifications.
Loss of Income and Modifications
One of the most likely reasons a person may seek to modify support obligations is a loss of income. If a parent loses their job, making support payments might not only create a hardship, but it could also be entirely impossible. Taking a pay cut, unless it is for only a short while, may also lead to a need to modify your support obligations.
Voluntarily losing income, like by quitting a job with no other work lined up, may lead to the court find that a party voluntarily impoverishment themselves and therefore order that the support obligations will remain the same. There might be cases where the parent has a reasonable need to voluntarily cut back on or take a break from work, such as because of illness or disability.
Parents who collect support may also lose their jobs and need to make changes to the support payments to continue to provide for the children. If a child’s needs change and require additional care, this can also lead to a parent seeking a change in support payments. It will be critical for the parent seeking the change to consult with a Maryland family lawyer to ensure that the modifications are in line with all technical requirements.
Changing Custody and Support
Child support is most often paid to a custodial parent by a non-custodial parent. If the custody arrangement changes, this can lead to a modification in support obligations. For instance, if the children begin spending the bulk of their time with the non-custodial parent, and the parties change the custody agreement to reflect the new living arrangement, the paying and receiving parents might switch places.
If a parent moves and this significantly impacts the schedule, this may lead to the need to modify custody and support. While a custody agreement and support payments may make sense when the attorneys draft them, the family’s circumstances may change a great deal over time and render the original document impractical and out of line with the best interest of the children. Making unofficial modifications outside of court and without the assistance of an experienced attorney is risky and can lead to severe consequences, so it is important to speak to a family attorney about modifying these documents.
Risks of Unofficial Changes to Child Support
If a person reduces child support payments on their own, they may have to provide back pay and possibly suffer serious legal consequences. Child support is the child’s right, and courts view the failure to pay as a serious offense.
The state can take actions, including docking a person’s pay, putting liens on their property, and suspending driver’s or professional licenses when parents neglect to make the proper payments. Losing a job is a valid reason to modify, but until the changes are official, the paying parent must continue to make their payments as court-ordered.
Failing to reach out to a Maryland child support attorney right as soon as possible can create financial hardship that will impact the parent and likely the children. Parties seeking to modify should not put off the need to make such changes.
Hiring a Maryland Child Support Attorney
Child support payments often represent a significant amount of a person’s income. Changes in income can create difficult circumstances for a parent who is obligated to pay support.
Job loss and pay cuts are stressful even without having to struggle with child support considerations. If you need to alter your child support payment obligations, contact a Maryland child support lawyer right away.