Prince George’s County Child Support Attorney
Child support is usually one of the most dreaded and controversial topics before and after a divorce. But most families do not realize that it is possible to discuss this issue without unnecessary conflict. And, even during conflict, the child’s best interests should always come first. That is one area of family law the Circuit Courts in Maryland do not take lightly. At Divorce With a Plan, our experienced Prince George’s County child support attorneys can help you understand the complex issue of child support in this state, including your rights and responsibilities as a parent.
Above all, we can help find practical solutions to complex child support matters, avoiding conflicts as much as possible. But if, for some reason, we have to fight to protect you and your beloved child(ren) in or out of court, you can always count on us to go above and beyond.
What Does a Prince George’s County Child Support Lawyer Do?
A Prince George’s County child support lawyer provides legal advice and representation to clients in matters related to child support. We will discuss their roles in detail shortly.
What Is the Legal Definition of Child Support in Prince George’s County?
Child support refers to the financial support a parent provides for the care and upbringing of their child(ren). In most cases, it involves payments made by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child(ren).
It is important to note that child support orders are legally binding and enforceable. For this reason, parents who fail to make their required payments may face various consequences, such as wage garnishment, liens on property, or even jail time.
What Are Some Child Support Laws in Maryland?
In Maryland, child support laws are governed by the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Let’s take a brief look at some key provisions of these guidelines.
Determination of child support: The guidelines provide a formula for determining the amount of child support a parent should pay based on the income of both parents and the number of children.
Income of both parents: When determining the child support amount to be paid by the parent, the state of Maryland will consider the income of both parents. This also includes salary, bonuses, and any other forms of income.
Shared custody: Suppose both parents have joint physical custody of the children. In that case, the guidelines consider how much time each parent spends with the children in determining the amount of child support.
Health insurance: The child support guidelines require that a parent provide health insurance coverage for the children if it is reasonably priced.
Extraordinary expenses: Maryland child support laws also allow for the payment of additional support for extraordinary expenses such as medical, child care, and education.
Modification of support orders: You can modify child support orders in Maryland. However, this is only possible if there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as a change in either parent’s income or the children’s needs.
Enforcement of child support. Maryland strictly enforces child support orders. Nevertheless, if need be, the state may take certain measures to enforce these orders, including wage garnishment, liens, and suspension of driver’s licenses, passports, and professional licenses.
Note that these guidelines are just that – guidelines. The final determination of child support in any given case may vary based on the specific facts and circumstances of that particular case. Additionally, child support laws in Maryland are subject to change. For this reason, it is always advisable to consult an experienced Prince George’s County child support attorney whenever you need help with such matters.
How Long Is Child Support Paid in Maryland?
In Maryland, child support is typically paid until a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, in some cases, a court may order that child support continue until when the child is 19. This is usually the case in situations where the child is still in high school, attending college, or has a physical or mental disability.
Keep in mind that the child turning 18 (or 19, depending on the case) does not mean that the paying parent no longer owes child support. Instead, the court will enforce the payment of past-due child support regardless of the child’s age. In other words, the parent paying support cannot avoid their responsibilities simply by waiting for the child to grow older.
Can Parents Split Their Children Apart in Maryland?
In Maryland, parents cannot unilaterally split their children apart. This is because the Circuit Court makes decisions regarding the custody and care of minor children. Above all, these decisions are usually based on the child’s best interests.
When determining custody, a court will consider several factors, including but not limited to the following:
- the relationship between the child and each parent;
- the child’s needs and circumstances; and
- the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs.
If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court may order a custody evaluation to determine the best custody arrangement for the child.
It’s also worth mentioning that Maryland favors joint custody in most cases. This is where both parents share the physical and legal custody of the child. However, joint custody is preferred only if it is in the child’s best interests.
Ultimately, the decision to split children apart in Maryland must be made through the legal process and be in the children’s best interests. Therefore, parents are encouraged to work together and find a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of their children rather than making unilateral decisions that could harm the children.
A Divorce With a Plan attorney can help review your case and determine the best way forward if you are in a situation that could warrant the need to consider split custody. This ensures that the decisions you make are legal and in the child’s best interests, something Maryland takes seriously.
Does Maryland Offer a Schedule for Child Support Payments?
In Maryland, the court determines the amount and schedule of child support payments based on the Maryland Child Support Guidelines.
The guidelines provide a formula for determining the amount of child support a parent should pay based on the income of both parents and the number of children. In most cases, child support in Maryland is paid on a monthly basis. The payment schedule is usually included in the court order or agreement and is legally binding.
However, the payment schedule can be modified if there is a change in circumstances, such as a significant change in either parent’s income or the children’s needs. In such cases, a parent may request a child support order modification by filing a motion with the court.
The paying parent cannot suddenly stop honoring their child support obligations simply because there was a significant change in circumstances. Instead, they must first obtain a court order to modify their child support obligations.
Failure to honor child support obligations in Maryland can lead to severe consequences for the parent owing support. For example, in some cases, the court may order wage garnishment to collect child support. Wage garnishment is a legal process in which a portion of a parent’s wages is withheld by their employer and paid directly to the custodial parent for the benefit of the children.
How a Child Support Lawyer From Divorce With a Plan Can Help
At Divorce With a Plan, we understand how complex child support cases can be. The legal perspective aside, many parents tend to disagree on this matter for various reasons.
And since each family is different, each case usually comes with its own unique challenges. That is where the child support attorneys at Divorce with a plan come in.
Our experienced Prince George’s County child support attorneys can:
- provide crucial legal advice about your rights and obligations under Maryland family laws;
- negotiate and draft child support agreements on your behalf;
- appear in court to represent you in child support hearings and trials.
- navigate the complex legal process involved in determining child support payments;
- provide support and guidance throughout the child support process;
- assist in modifying existing child support orders;
- enforce child support orders; and
- resolve disputes related to the calculation or payment of child support.
Let Divorce With a Plan Handle Your Child Support Matter
No doubt that child support issues can be overwhelming and complicated. But contrary to popular belief, there is always a way to work around this issue while avoiding unnecessary conflict. However, this is only possible if you have a plan, and that is exactly where we come in. At Divorce With a Plan, our ultimate goal is to help you and your ex-spouse reach a fair and reasonable resolution of your child support dispute in a manner that protects the child’s best interests.
Ready to discuss your case? Book a consultation with a skilled Prince George’s County child support attorney.