Child Support Modification Attorney
Skilled representation for divorce and family law clients
Child support is court-ordered, which means that you simply cannot decide you’re not going to make the payments. Despite this, we all know that things happen in life that might prevent you from being able to make child support payments.
The courts can be lenient when it comes to a hardship that prevents you from making child support payments, but you must contact the court to have the child support order modified. If you have come into a difficult position in life because of unemployment, injury, illness or need to care for a sick loved one, it’s best to speak with an experienced attorney. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law we can help with child support modification and help with release from jail if you were arrested for failure to pay.
How child support is decided
In an effort to remove possible unfairness, the courts are required to use the same formula for every case when determining the amount of child support that will be paid. In rare situations the courts can deviate from the amount calculated by the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Income is the first part of the formula. Both parents are required to submit their W-2s, paystubs, and any other financial document that can help show income. This includes income from IRAs, rental properties, tips, wages and commissions.
The number of dependents will also play a factor when the court decides child support. If one parent has dependents from another relationship, and is providing them with support, this may be taken into consideration when coming up with a number for payments.
The overnight visits of both parents will be considered. These visits are viewed as the ones where the parent has sole financial responsibility for the child. If one parent has sole physical and legal custody of the child, the court is required to provide this parent with the proper financial support. If both parents share in physical and legal custody of the child, the Maryland Child Support Guidelines use a different formula and the child support award will likely be significantly less than an award based on sole custody situations. To qualify for child support based on a shared custody formula, the child or children must spend at least 128 nights per year with the parent from whom support is being sought.
The parent who pays the health coverage costs for the child will receive a credit in the formula for determining child support. This includes if the parent who is going to be paying child support is making the health coverage payments.
The paying parent will receive credit in the formula if one parent is paying for childcare costs throughout the year. These costs can range from $10,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on the amount of time the child needs to be in the care of someone else.
What is child support modification and what does it entail?
Child support modification is the altering of the order issued by the court because of hardship you have encountered. Modification can also happen if the financial needs of the child have changed. Child support orders can be modified so that the payment amount is either increased or decreased.
Some of the reasons why you might not be able to make child support payments, and therefore should request a modification, include the following:
- Job loss
- Demotion that leads to lowered salary
- Permanent disability
- Serious illness (cancer diagnosis)
- Serious injury
- Caring for a sick loved one
Anything that results in a decrease in your income can be a reason for requesting a modification of the child support order you have from the court. If there has not been a significant drop in your income, it can be difficult to have the court approve a child support modification.
Penalties for failing to pay child support
If you cannot make child support payments, it is in your best interest to continue paying some amount via the method ordered by the court. Making payments while going through a hardship shows the court, and the other parent, that you are making a sincere effort.
Failing to pay child support can lead to any of the following penalties:
- Having wages garnished from your paycheck
- Having your driver’s license suspended
- Being denied a passport
- Being hit with added fines and fees
- Dismissal from military service
- Being sent to jail
You could be guilty of a federal crime if you willingly and knowingly fail to pay child support by moving to another state in an attempt to avoid the payments. You could be convicted under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act if the federal government can prove the following:
- You had the financial ability to make the child support payments
- You willfully decided not to make the payments
- There has been no child support paid for at least one year
- You owe more than $5,000 in child support
Benefits of working with us
So, why would you work with us? For starters, you could wind up in jail for failure to pay. When faced with arrest and jail time, it’s always best to work with a criminal defense firm, especially one that has experience representing clients who didn’t pay child support. If you were arrested, it means you didn’t attempt to modify the court order. We can help get the charges reduced or dropped if you truly have a financial hardship.
Secondly, just because you know us as a criminal defense firm doesn’t mean it’s all we do. Attorney Eric Gibson has helped countless clients with their family law needs, including modification of child support order and parenting plans.
Finally, it’s good to work with a firm you already know and trust to take care of you. Hiring a lawyer can be overwhelming, and tensions can flare when it comes to your kids. We promise: if we can handle the heat of a murder defense, we can certainly handle a custody modification. And we’ll do it with the same determination and efficiency that we handle all of our other cases.
Need to modify a custody order? Keep Calm – and Call Us
Need help with a custody order modification? Best to let a lawyer help. Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law is the firm you know and trust. We can help you get everything in order, and represent your best interests in front of a judge. Call our office at 410-777-8103 or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation.
And remember: Keep Clam – and Call Drew.