What Is Child Support?
What is Child Support?
Raising a child doesn’t just take a village—it requires a financial obligation from both parents. Every parent has a legal duty to support their child financially. Family courts consider a number of factors in the calculation of child support: income (including non-traditional income or business ownership), time-sharing, and the expenses necessary to build a bright future.
Also important to note is the unequivocal distinction between child support and spousal support; child support is money that’s allocated for the child’s benefit only. If you are getting divorced or find yourself in a dispute over child support payments with your spouse, then it's time to schedule a case assessment with one of our experienced child support lawyers.
The Responsible Allocation of Child Support
One of the most common questions parents have when they go through a divorce case concerns child support laws. Specifically, what do child support payments cover? The answer is that child support payments go towards the costs of raising a child to ensure the child's welfare. This includes basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, as well as other costs like healthcare and education. Generally, the parent who does not have custody of the child is responsible for making child support payments to the custodial parent to provide for the child's needs. If you have any questions about child support obligations, set up an initial case assessment today to speak to one of our knowledgeable child support attorneys. Attorney representation can help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a parent to ensure you are fulfilling your obligations and/or getting what you are owed.
Modifying Child Support Under Maryland Law
Child support orders aren't set in stone, and as familial circumstances change, court-ordered child support agreements can be modified to match. A precipitating situational change is required to trigger a modification of child support. Family courts have a term for this type of trigger: a ‘material change,’ or a change in circumstance that arises after a child support order has already been entered. This means modifications can’t be granted based on arguments already heard in the family court system.
The following situations would typically meet the “material change” standard:
- A shift in the child’s needs or schedule
- A change in one party's gross income (whether up or down)
- The arrival of additional children
- An emancipation or graduation event
The Non-Payment of Child Support
As a caretaker, it can be disruptive and frustrating to realize that you’re the only parent pulling their own (financial) weight after child support is ordered. Our child support lawyers empathize with your struggle, and if you’re having trouble collecting the child support you’re owed, we can help you take enforcement action. There are certain corrective measures we can take, such as calling on the family court’s power of contempt, for starters. The custodial parent can take the non-custodial parent to court for contempt if they refuse to pay child support. The one action you can’t take is withholding access to your child in the meantime, as that would be against the child's best interest. If you’re missing a child support payment, contact one of our child support attorneys to schedule an initial case assessment, or The Office of Child Support Enforcement Administration to initiate enforcement measures today instead of taking matters into your own hands.
Finding the Right Child Support Attorney in Maryland
At Z Family Law, we believe that the best child support attorney for you is usually the one that feels right from the start. When it comes to securing your child's welfare and financial future, the importance of finding strategic, compassionate legal counsel cannot be understated, especially if you’re a business owner or if you have any type of non-traditional income. The reality is, nuanced financial child support cases require a legal team with the proven knowledge to navigate them and create a fair income share model. By combining our vast legal experience, our tenured team can design a tailored strategy to help you take back your power and build the new beginning you deserve.