Columbia Child Support Attorney
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 Columbia child support lawyer could stand with you during this process.
Understanding a Child Support Order
Child support orders are similar regardless of whether they stem from a divorce case. These orders set out the specific guidelines for one parent to make regularly scheduled payments for child support to the other parent. Again, a Columbia lawyer can 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.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Typically, child support covers the basic needs of the child, such as housing, clothing, food, and medical expenses. Depending on the circumstances, child support payments can also cover educational expenses, including but not limited to school uniforms, books, tuition fees, and other essential supplies.
In some cases, child support might also cover extra-curricular activities such as clubs, summer camps, and sports.
Do Child Support Obligations End at Age 18?
Child support normally ends when the child reaches the age of 18. If the child is 18 years old but still in high school, then child support is extended until the child reaches 19. However, that’s not the only factor that could lead to the termination of child support.
Another example involves children who cannot 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.
In Maryland, child support could end even when the child is not yet 18. This happens through a process called emancipation.
Here’s an overview of this process:
Emancipation is the process of freeing a minor (an individual under the age of 18) from parental control. When emancipation is granted, it means the parent is no longer responsible for the child’s actions.
As a result, emancipation allows a child to set up their own living arrangement. In Maryland, emancipation can either be complete or incomplete. Here’s the difference between the two:
Complete emancipation means that the child’s parents lose complete control of the child. On the other hand, as the name suggests, partial or incomplete emancipation means that the child is only emancipated for a specific period, a special purpose (such as the right to spend their own wages), or to exercise their right as parents (for example, the right to decide about a pregnancy).
Does Child Support Cover College Expenses?
Child support does not usually cover college expenses unless the parents had such an agreement and that it is incorporated into a court order.
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.
How a Child Support Attorney From Divorce With a Plan Can Help You
The issue of child support can be confusing and overwhelming for most people. And when dealing with something as draining as a divorce, you may not be in a position to make the right decisions. Having an experienced child support attorney take on your case is a great way to ease the burden off your shoulders.
At Divorce With a Plan, our attorneys are well-equipped with the training and experience needed to handle these complex cases. And we do that with a plan because failing to plan is planning to fail.
Our attorneys have a plan for every complex situation. If you’re looking for proven problem solvers to fight for your child’s best interests, you have found us. Speaking of a child’s best interest, our founder Josephia is a Best Interest Attorney (an attorney who fights for children’s rights). She’s supported by an equally brilliant family law attorney, Ashley D. Edwards, Esq., creating the perfect combination you need to tackle these kinds of cases.
Child support cases are naturally complex. Do not make them even more complex by not hiring an attorney.
Contact Our Columbia Child Support Attorneys Today
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 Columbia child support lawyer from Divorce With a Plan advocate on your behalf. Contact us here or send us an email at [email protected] to schedule a consultation. We might be able to help.