Baltimore County Child Support Attorney
Child support is usually one of the most contentious issues during divorce or separation in Baltimore County and throughout Maryland. In addition, navigating the child support system can be confusing and overwhelming for those involved, especially without the help of a Baltimore County child support attorney.
One thing about child support matters is that they always offer unique challenges. This is because while there are over 326,000 households in Baltimore County, Maryland, each family unit is unique.
In other words, there is no one-fits-all solution to child support issues in Baltimore County or elsewhere in Maryland. Similarly, all child support lawyers are not the same. Some would want to settle the case and move on to the next. Others, specifically the team at Divorce With a Plan, offer more than that, as you will find out shortly.
What Does a Child Support Lawyer Do?
A child support lawyer helps their clients make informed decisions about their rights and responsibilities regarding child support. Some of the specific tasks that such a lawyer may perform include but are not limited to the following:
- Providing advice on child support laws and regulations, including how to comply with these laws.
- Assisting their clients in calculating the amount of child support owed using the proper formula.
- Negotiating and drafting child support agreements, considering the child’s needs and the parent’s financial situation.
- Representing clients in court and advocating for their rights and interests in child support matters.
- Guiding parents on related matters, such as health insurance coverage, medical support, and college expenses for their shared child(ren).
Generally, a child support attorney is a valuable resource for anyone going through a divorce or contemplating one. Such an attorney can provide invaluable legal assistance whether they seek to establish a child support order, modify an existing order, or enforce it.
What Is the Legal Definition of Child Support in Maryland?
In Maryland, child support is the financial assistance one parent provides to the other for supporting and caring for their shared child. Basically, this payment covers the costs of raising a child. Examples of these costs and expenses include but are not limited to food, clothing, housing, and medical care.
What Are Some Maryland Child Support Laws I Should Know?
Below are some fundamental child support laws in Maryland to keep in mind.
Child support in Maryland is calculated using a formula known as the Child Support Guidelines. The formula considers various factors such as the cost of living, each parent’s gross income, the needs of the child, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
For purposes of child support calculation, “income” is defined broadly to include not just wages and salaries but also other sources of income such as bonuses, commissions, dividends, interests, etc.
Child support orders in Maryland can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances. Examples of such changes include a change in the income of either parent or child’s needs.
It is also worth noting that if a parent fails to pay child support as ordered in Maryland, the other parent may take legal action to enforce the order. This can include wage garnishment, seizure of tax refunds, and even jail time for repeat offenders.
Both parents have a legal obligation to support their children. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the child has the financial resources necessary to meet their needs and to have a reasonable standard of living.
What Counts As Income for Computing Child Support in MD?
In Maryland, “income” for purposes of child support calculation is defined broadly and includes a wide range of sources of financial support. The types of income that may be considered child support in Maryland include but are not limited to the following:
- Wages and salaries
- Commissions and bonuses
- Self-employment income
- Retirement benefits
- Investment income
- Unemployment benefits
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Disability insurance benefits
It is important to note that the court will consider the only income received or available to the parent. In addition, the court may also consider other factors, such as the parent’s earning capacity and ability to earn income, in determining the amount of child support.
An experienced Baltimore County child support attorney from Divorce With a Plan can help you understand your rights and options whether you are a parent seeking a divorce or being divorced.
Is Child Support Affected by Whether the Child Was Born in or Out of Wedlock?
In Maryland, the fact that a child was born in or out of wedlock does not affect child support calculation. Instead, child support is determined based on the child’s needs and both parents’ ability to provide financial support, regardless of the parent’s marital status.
So just because you were unmarried when you gave birth to the child does not necessarily mean they are not eligible for support from the child’s father.
Keep in mind that the court’s primary focus when determining child support is the child’s best interests. In addition, Maryland family laws require both parents to support their children, regardless of whether the child was born in or out of wedlock. This means that the non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent irrespective of their marital status.
How Are Child Care Expenses Determined?
Several factors go into determining child care expenses in Baltimore County, Maryland. These factors vary depending on the unique circumstances of each family. Generally, this support caters to the child’s basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, and medical expenses.
When determining these expenses, the following factors will come into play:
- Number of children that need to be cared for: In most cases, the more children that need support, the higher the expenses.
- Age of the children: Younger children will likely need more supervision and care than if they are older.
- Type of child care required: Children with special or unique needs usually require more support.
What Does Child Support Cover in Maryland?
Child support in Maryland usually covers the child’s financial needs, including food, clothing, housing, and medical expenses. In some cases, child support may also cover other expenses, such as childcare and education costs, the costs of extracurricular activities, and travel.
Can a Court Change Child Support?
Yes, a court can change child support in Maryland.
This is because child support orders are not set in stone and can be modified if circumstances change. Here’s an example of a significant change in circumstances.
If the paying parent loses their job or experiences a substantial decrease in income, they can petition the court to reduce their child support payments. Conversely, if the receiving parent experiences an increase in expenses related to the child, they can petition the court to increase the child support they receive.
That said, a court will only modify a child support order if there is a significant change in circumstances. This means that minor fluctuations in income or expenses are not usually sufficient to justify a change in child support.
Additionally, a court will typically only consider a modification if:
- the original child support order was made per state child support; or
- the modification would result in a different amount of child support than what would be determined by applying the guidelines to the new circumstances.
How a Child Support Lawyers From Divorce With a Plan Can Help
The child support process can be challenging, even for inexperienced attorneys. What’s even more confusing is that these laws apply differently depending on the dynamics of that particular family. So, there’s no standard way to approach child support issues.
That’s why you need an attorney. But not just any attorney; you need someone with a plan.
At Divorce With a Plan, our child support lawyers can walk you through the complex child support process, ensuring you receive a favorable outcome.
We can help explain the laws and regulations that apply to your case and provide guidance on how they may impact your unique situation.
Our attorneys can also help negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement that considers the needs of both the parent paying support and the child.
And if your child support case goes to court, our lawyers can represent your interests and advocate on your behalf.
Suppose the other parent is not paying child support as ordered. In that case, our child support lawyers can help you take legal action to enforce the order.
Last but not least, if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or increase in income, we can help you petition the court to modify the child support order.
Need a Plan for Your Unique Child Support Case? We Can Help
At Divorce With a Plan, we can help you create a plan that works for you regarding child support matters. We know each case is unique, so we provide individualized plans whether you are a custodial or non-custodial parent. Schedule a consultation with our Baltimore County child support attorney. We will fight for you and your family.