In Maryland, like in other states, child support is a court-ordered financial arrangement between two parties who have produced a child. The two parties need not have been married for child support to apply. They need only be the biological parents of the child. The idea behind child support is that the child should enjoy the combined benefits of the earning potential of both parents, regardless of which parent is entrusted with caring for the child. That means that if you produce a child, you are almost always obligated to contribute a financial stake in the child’s future, regardless of any other personal involvement in the child’s upbringing.
Often, child support can become an issue as a result of the parents’ divorce. In fact, it can become one of the more contentious issues a Maryland family lawyer might need to resolve in a divorce case. The theory behind child support in this context is that the child should enjoy roughly the same quality of life he or she enjoyed prior to the parents’ divorce. In line with this view, many courts will instruct the parent who was not awarded primary custody to pay a monthly amount to the custodial parent to cover the expenses of raising the child. In this way, the child’s quality of life does not suffer for any financial shortcomings of the custodial parent.
Maryland child support attorneys will tell you that child support is tied to income. Generally speaking, the greater one’s earnings, the greater the child support contribution required of them. Though the norms are rapidly changing, the classic child support case involves a divorced couple in which the husband had been the primary breadwinner and the wife had been either primary a housewife or perhaps supplementing with a part-time job. In this classic case, the wife may have been awarded primary custody of the child despite her lower earnings. This situation would undoubtedly result in the court ordering a child support contribution from the husband, who was earning far more than his former wife. The husband would be required to pay a determined amount primarily tied to his monthly income until the child was old enough to live on his or her own.
In a growing majority of cases, however, the story does not follow this straight and narrow path. Life circumstances are constantly changing. Especially in this economy, income is no longer as constant or certain as it once was. For this reason, Maryland child support modifications are on the rise. Courts will recognize the need for a modification in both the amount and duration of child support if the petitioning party meets the following standard: sufficient evidence of a “substantial change in circumstances.”
There is no formal clarification of that standard except in a host of individual child support cases. Because courts treat the issue on a case by case basis, the skill of your Maryland family law attorney can be paramount in convincing the court that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, necessitating a modification to your child support payment. Don’t risk failing to meet the standard by petitioning on your own. Consult a Maryland family lawyer who knows the ins and outs of child support modification.
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