In a recent report by CNN, several men came forward to share their personal experiences with child custody and child support. After losing his job, one man spent time in jail for not paying child support. Another man described how he was unfairly banned from seeing his children, and yet another father was only awarded four days a month for visitation because he was not listed on the birth certificate. In fact, fathers often find themselves granted only visitation of their own children accompanied by what may seem like insurmountable child support payments.
Does Mom Always Get Custody?
Although most states no longer believe that the mother is somehow the better parent, those in charge of custody decisions may gravitate toward old-fashioned beliefs. However, all courts are legally obligated to base custody decisions on what is in the best interests of the child, and this often points to the mother as the custodial parent choice. For example, courts use the following criteria to make custody determinations:
- Who was the primary caregiver before and during divorce?
- Strength of parent-child bond
- Which parent is most willing to maintain a relationship with the other parent?
- Medical history of both parents
- Child’s wishes
- Quality of life for the child at each residence
For example, if the mother stayed home to tend to the child’s needs while the father worked, had remained in the family home after the divorce, and will work part-time after the divorce, the courts may feel that staying with the mother is in the best interest of the child.
I Cannot Pay My Child Support Payments
Although child support is necessary for the children’s security, those ordered to pay support often feel that the payment is too high to afford them any kind of quality of living after a divorce. Additionally, in today’s economy, it is not uncommon for companies to go bankrupt or temporarily lay-off employees. Child support payments do not stop for parents, even if they have lost their job.
Although a change in the support order is never guaranteed, in Maryland, if one parent’s income has increased or decreased by at least 25 percent, a court may agree to grant a request to modify the support order. Until a formal modification is made legal, parents struggling to make support payments should consider the following while waiting for an official modification:
- Avoid verbal agreements: A verbal negotiation made with an ex-spouse to lower payments does not hold up in court, and the amount owed will continue to accrue.
- Pay something: Failure to make any payment toward child support risks a penalty of jail time.
- Hire an attorney: Maryland residents should speak with a Towson child custody lawyer about help with support payment modifications.
- Hold off on anger: Accept the situation and take the appropriate, legal steps to affect change.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Assist Clients with Child Custody and Support Matters
A divorce is difficult for the whole family. If you are seeking custody of your children, extended visitation, or need assistance with a support modification, contact an experienced Towson child custody lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. For a free consultation, contact us online today or call us at 443-589-0150. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients throughout the state, including Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.