Child Support: Every Child’s Right; Every Parent’s Obligation
Because of the intense emotions that come with divorce, some parents lose sight of the fact that child support is not about rewarding or punishing the ex-spouse. Child support is about taking care of their children. At McLeod, Weschler & Yeager, P.C., our divorce lawyers fight for the best interests of your child while ensuring that your interests are protected as well.
How Is Child Support Calculated In Maryland?
The child support obligation extends to all parents. In Maryland, child support is based on a formula that takes into account a number of factors, including each parent’s income, the number of overnights the child spends with each parent, child care expenses and medical expenses.
The court has considerable discretion to deviate from the child support guidelines, based on the unique facts of your case. This is particularly true when the combined income of the parents is substantial, which is known as being “above the guidelines.” The amount of support also can be reduced if the noncustodial parent has physical custody of the child for at least 25% of the time. Our divorce attorneys at McLeod, Weschler & Yeager, P.C., help you determine the amount of child support you should expect to pay or receive.
What Happens If Child Support Isn’t Paid?
Failing to pay court-ordered child support can have serious consequences. Under Maryland law, the penalties for nonpayment of support include:
Our attorneys are experienced in the enforcement of child support orders.
Is Support Limited To Payments To The Custodial Parent?
The court’s child support order can involve more than the noncustodial parent’s direct payment of money to the custodial parent. The order can require the noncustodial parent to take other steps, such as:
- Making direct payments to the child’s daycare provider
- Paying for the child’s round-trip transportation for visits with the noncustodial parent
- Providing health insurance for the child
- Maintaining the child as the beneficiary of the parent’s life insurance policy
- Paying a percentage of the child’s uninsured medical costs and deductibles
- Paying for the child’s music, dance or other extracurricular lessons
- Making direct payments to the child’s private school
At McLeod, Weschler & Yeager, P.C., our legal team helps you create a realistic child support arrangement through negotiation, mediation or litigation.
Can The Amount Of Child Support Be Modified?
The court that made the initial child support award can modify its order if one or both of the parents experience a material change in circumstances. The parent seeking the modification starts the process by filing a motion with the court.
Changes that might justify an increase in child support payments include:
- The noncustodial parent’s income naturally changes.
- The child’s needs increase because of illness, disability or some other reason.
- As the child grows older, clothes, food and other necessities become more expensive.
Changes that might warrant a decrease in support payments include:
- The custodial parent’s income increases naturally.
- The custodial parent receives a substantial inheritance.
- The noncustodial parent loses a job.
- The noncustodial parent becomes disabled.
- The noncustodial parent is in jail or prison.
Our experienced Frederick and Rockville child support attorneys at McLeod, Weschler & Yeager, P.C., help you pursue or challenge a modification of your child support order.