Every parent has a legal duty to support their children.
In most cases, yes, one parent will have to shoulder the financial support payments to a parent. However, each parent is responsible for the financial well-being of the child, and each parent must support the child based on their income. Child support calculators take these factors into account, and the final amount of child support owed is determined with this math in mind.
When parents divorce, the law declares both parents are responsible for the costs of raising their children. It is the right of every child, and this support contributes to the child’s overall well-being and living conditions. Child support is not to be confused with spousal support, it is money for the child’s benefit only.
Non-payment of Child Support in Maryland
Access to one’s child does not depend on payment of child support. Although it can be frustrating and disruptive when a child’s other parent fails to make their child support payments, it is not legal to withhold access to the child due to non-payment. If you have not received a payment, contact your attorney or Office of Child Support Enforcement Administration to initiate proper enforcement actions.
Modifying Child Support Under Maryland Law
After a child support order has gone into effect, parents can request a modification of child support based on one or more material changes in circumstances.
A material change in circumstances is one that arose after a child support order was entered. A modification cannot be granted based on arguments that were already heard and addressed by the court.
Courts often regard the following situations as meeting the “material change in circumstances” standard:
- A parent’s income has increased or decreased by at least 25%
- A child has become disabled or seriously ill
- A parent has been sentenced to at least 18 consecutive months of incarceration
- A parent receives a significant inheritance