The obligation to support a child financially does not end upon the dissolution of a marriage. While the circumstances of the parent-child relationship might change with a divorce, this duty does not. The same is true for the parents of a child who has never been married.
If you expect child support to be an issue in your life, let a dedicated family law attorney guide you. No parent wants to shortchange their child, but it is also important to ensure that child support orders are fair. A Bethesda child support lawyer could stand with you during this process.
Child support orders are similar regardless if they stem from a divorce case or not. These orders set out the specific guidelines for one parent to make regularly scheduled payments for child support to the other parent. A Bethesda lawyer could work to ensure the terms of these payments are reasonable and fair.
Every order for child support requires some form of direct monetary payment. The order will set out the amount to be paid and a schedule for the payments. Typically, these payments are made monthly to the custodial parent.
The fact that the money is paid directly to the other parent as opposed to the child is often a point of contention. However, this arrangement is required under the law. Regardless of any contention, the failure to make mandatory child support payments on these grounds could result in an enforcement action.
Court orders are final and remain in place until the child reaches the age of majority. However, the court retains the power to modify these support orders when the circumstances call for it.
Modifying a child support order requires some showing of a material change in circumstances. This means a judge will not reduce or increase the amount of child support owed arbitrarily. Common examples of a material change could include the loss of a job, a severe injury, or a monetary windfall.
There is a common misconception that child support obligations automatically end when a child reaches the age of majority. The reality is that child support obligations can continue even when a child turns 18 in some cases.
The most common example of child support obligations not ending at the age of majority involves a child that is still in school. As long as a child is enrolled in high school, the obligation to pay support will continue.
Another example involves children that are unable to care for themselves at the age of majority. This includes children with physical or mental disabilities that make it impossible for them to meet their own basic needs.
Additionally, the language of a divorce decree can also be relevant. In some cases, a parent will agree to cover some or all of the cost of college for a child. This obligation could be recovered through child support payments.
Child support disputes can be difficult for everyone involved. One of the benefits of hiring an attorney is allowing your legal counsel to serve as your go-between with the other parent and their lawyer.
Let a Bethesda child support lawyer advocate on your behalf. Call today to get started.
The Law Offices of Josephia Rouse, Esq