In Maryland, a parent owes child support until the child reaches the age of 18, or until the child is 19 if the child is still in high school full-time. The process to modify child support in New Mexico begins with a motion to modify child support stating the grounds for the modification. Either spouse may file the motion. For example, if the supporting spouse loses their job, they can file a motion to lower their child support obligation. However, if the non-supporting spouse finds out that that the supporting spouse has received a raise, they can file a motion as well to increase child support.
The timing of the motion filing is important as well. The motion may be awarded retroactively to the filing date, so filing as soon as a change occurs, or as soon as a change is discovered, is very important.
In order for a court to change the amount of child support you are paying, you must convince them that a “material and substantial” change has occurred in your circumstances. Small changes are not worth the time, effort and money involved, but typically if a change in income will result in a 20% difference in child support, it is considered substantial. Alternatively, if more than a year has passed since a modification was requested, the court will consider the change material and substantial as well.
Where a parent loses income, it must be a situation beyond your control, like involuntarily losing your job. You cannot generally receive a modification of a support order because you voluntarily quit your job or took a lower paying one. Generally, judges are more interested in the parent earning as much as they can to support the child, not a parent’s desire for a different career or lack of fulfillment in a current job.
It is important to note that your child support obligation can go up or down, depending on your current salary. And all child support orders contain a provision for the annual exchange of financial information by both parties. Spouses can request:
· Federal and state tax returns
· W-2 statements for the preceding year
· IRS Form 1099s for the preceding year
· Work-related daycare statements for the preceding year
· Dependent medical insurance premiums for the preceding year
· Wage and payroll statements for four months preceding the request
If your spouse requests your financial information, you are required to provide it. There is no way to hide if you have received a raise or your compensation has gone up in some way, so it is best to be honest. Again, the court is most interested in the best interest of the children, so if it is possible to provide additional money for them, the court will modify the support obligation. Be sure to contact a Maryland child support attorney for help on these issues.