Keeping up with a child support obligation can be difficult if you lose your job, take a pay cut or otherwise experience a decrease in income. Likewise, it can be difficult for custodial parents to support their children on existing child support payments if their incomes decrease or the needs of their children change. This is why Maryland law allows the periodic modification of existing child support orders. However, to prevent constant requests for modification and to keep the process from becoming burdensome to both the court and the parties, the law only allows modification upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
There are several common situations that would serve to justify a modification of child support
- Substantial income changes for either parent
- The sickness or disability of either parent
- A supported child turning 18
- Substantial changes in the needs of the child
- Changes in the child custody arrangement
- Windfall income for either parent
Minor changes do not justify modification and you should consult an experienced Hunt Valley family law attorney before deciding whether or not to proceed.
The first step to getting a support order modified is to file a petition/motion to modify child support and financial statement in the same court that entered the child support order currently in effect and serving these documents on the other parent. Either the obligor or obligee parent can initiate these proceedings. From there, the petitioning party must file a request for a hearing, at which point the new obligation will be computed according to Maryland’s child support guidelines, with adjustments potentially being made for extraordinary circumstances.