Despite the divorce, and regardless of who is the primary custodian of the children, both parties are financially responsible for the care and maintenance of their children. The person who pays the child support is usually the parent with whom the children do not reside on a daily basis. The determination of who pays child support and how much is based on a formula determined by the Uniform Maryland Child Support Guidelines.
The formula uses both parties’ combined adjusted actual income, the cost of health insurance, work related daycare costs, alimony paid or received by either party, as well as several other expenses that may be applicable in each individual case. Those figures are factored into the general formula, and the child support amount owed by each parent for the care of their children is thereby determined.
Child support is used for the care and maintenance of the children, and in most circumstances is therefore not waivable by either parent. Child support is generally paid until the child turns 18 or graduates from High School, which ever is last to occur. However, child support will terminate at age 19 even if the child has not graduated from High School. Child support payments usually include health insurance premiums and any work related day care provided for the child. The amount of time the children reside with each parent is also a factor that can reduce the amount of child support that is due to either parent.
What Happens When Child Support Payments Aren’t Made?
In the event that you or the other parent fails to pay child support, the consequences can be dire. After all, child support is set by a binding agreement and by court order. Therefore, if payments aren’t made, the offending party will be found in violation of the Agreement and the Court’s order. This can lead to a finding of contempt of court, which entitles the payee spouse reimbursement of attorney fees, wage garnishment, seizure of assets, and other penalties to ensure that the offending party complies.
What If I Can’t Pay My Child Support?
If there is a change in circumstances that develop after a child support order is in place, you may request that the child support be reduced and modified. Either party may request the court to modify the child support order, whether the change in circumstances is due to a decrease or increase of income.
The loss of a job, disability, chronic illness, and various other factors are examples of changes in circumstances that may reduce or eliminate income. Furthermore, a promotion, second job or a return on a good investment may also change circumstances in favor of an increase in child support. The changing needs or circumstances of the children may also determine whether a modification of child support is warranted.
Whatever your personal circumstances are as they relate to child support, the success of your case is based upon your unique circumstances and the process can be rather complicated. One thing is certain, time is of the essence and it’s important to take prompt action. Advice from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney is imperative. ZM Law Group has 20 years of experience in all types of child support matters. Contact us for further information and representation.