Okay, you have been paying child support. Or, you have been receiving child support. What can I do to change it?
First, we have to address what material change has occurred to warrant a change in the child support. There are so many potential changes. A highly experienced family law attorney, with a free consultation, either in person or by phone, can quickly and easily tell you if it is worth it to pursue a child support modification. Maybe one of your incomes has drastically changed. Maybe someone lost a job. Got a much better job. Maybe there are multiple kids and one has graduated high school. There are just so many types of chances.
Second, how should you go about trying to change your child support?
Here are several ways you can seek to modify child support payments:
1. Identify material change in circumstances. To modify a support order, you need to prove there has been a material change, as described above.
2. Try to reach an agreement with the other parent. Ideally, you and the other parent should to talk with each other with regard to modifying the child support terms. If you’re able to reach an agreement, the judge only needs to sign off on it by approving the change, making for a relatively painless and incredibly cost-effective process. A conversation can save thousands of dollars.
3. Look at your written agreement. Many times, your agreement will require mediation before seeking a change in child support. That is usually a good thing. Mediation is quick and cheap.
4. Check with your local child support enforcement office. In Maryland, these offices will often have an attorney assist you with modifying child support, virtually for free.
5. Have an attorney contact the other side. Sometimes, you and the other parent just cannot effectively communicate about money issues. A highly experienced family law attorney will know how to communicate with the other parent, trying to resolve the issue without litigation.
6. File a motion with the court. If you can’t amicably reach an agreement with the other parent, you’ll have to file a motion with the court, asking to modify your child support order. This is the process of last resort. Your attorney will file the papers in Court, they will be served on the other parent, and thereafter, there will be a child support hearing, resulting in a new court order. Occasionally, depending upon the financial circumstances of the parents, there may also be an award of counsel fees that goes along with the modification of child support.
Your first step should always be to a highly experienced family law attorney for a free consult to learn your rights!