The most important part of any family law matter is the proper care for children. This includes not only where the child will live and which parents have the right to make major decisions concerning that child’s welfare and future, but also ensuring that parents have the financial resources to support a child(ren). The payment of child support is a major part of these resources.
As a general rule, both parents are financially responsible for raising their children. It does not matter if the parents are married, divorced, or were ever married. The Maryland state family Courts will order one parent to provide support payments to the custodial parent.
A Montgomery County child support lawyer may be able to help you pursue parents who are not providing proper support. They can help to file complaints in the Circuit Court and appropriately request relief from the court for non-payment of child support. Additionally, a MoCo family law attorney could help you if you are facing allegations of not providing proper support payments.
Child Support Requirements Under the Law
Maryland’s family law code clearly states that all parents of children have both rights and obligations when it comes to raising those kids. A major part of the obligation of parents is to provide adequate financial support for those child(ren).
In most instances, one parent will be required to provide support to the other parent for the minor child(ren). Child support is dependent on the parent’s income, and income is defined very broadly under Maryland law. In addition, depending on the parties’ financial circumstances and the best interest of the child(ren), the children’s expenses such as costs for tuition, extra-curricular activities, work related child care and medical care may be included in the calculations.
Montgomery County uses the State’s guidelines for establishing child support payments. According to Md. Code, Family Law §12-202, there is a presumption that the court will use this guideline to establish a payment plan.
Md. Code, Family Law §12-204 provides the calculations needed to establish a child support payment plan. In short, the total amount of support needed by the child is distributed to each parent based upon a proportion of their income. In short, a parent must always pay some form of support, even if they are unemployed or disabled. The Court can order payments of as little as $20 per month. A MoCo child support attorney could help parents to determine the proper support payments that they should receive.
Common Problems with Child Support
Much like any other matter that goes through litigation, issues can often arise with child support payments. Perhaps the most common one is when one parent fails to make court ordered payments. Any child support order carries the full force of the law. A failure on the part of one parent to provide these payments can result in severe penalties.
The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) enforces state and federal laws regarding child support, and some actions that may be taken against a non-paying parent include, but are not limited to:
- Garnishment of wages
- Reporting non-payment to credit bureaus
- Issuing liens on property
- Revoking a driver’s license
A local lawyer could help a parent in MoCo file a complaint for any late child support and/or to establish child support and arrears. They could also help people accused of non-payment to present a defense in court.
Another common legal matter for child support is a modification of an existing order. Under Md. Code, Family Law §12-104, either parent may petition the court to modify an existing order if there has been a material change in circumstances. This can include the birth of another child, the loss of a job, a promotion, or even a parent getting re-married. Whether or not there exists a material change of circumstance to warrant a modification of child support will be up to a family law judge or magistrate, and he/she has a great amount of discretion.
Talk to a Montgomery County Child Support Attorney Today
Every child in Montgomery County has the right to support. This cannot be given away by a parent, because the right belongs to the child. This includes love and attention but also material support. Everything from housing, to food, to clothing costs money, and both parents should shoulder a share of that cost. The payment of child support must be sanctioned by the court and a copy of the Maryland Child Support Guidelines Worksheet should be included with every child support order in the State of Maryland.
A MoCo attorney could help you to establish a child support order, to move for a modification, to fight to hold a non-paying parent responsible, or to defend against actions of non-payment of child support. A Montgomery County child support lawyer can act quickly on your behalf to protect your rights. Contact our firm today to discuss your case.