Modification of child support is a change in the terms and the amount of child support paid by one parent to another. Either parent may request to modify the child support order. Modification of child support in Maryland is done through the circuit court where the order was initially put into motion. In order for a court to grant a modification, there must be a significant change in the circumstances surrounding the support order.
A parent in Maryland has the right to request the reviewal of a child support order for possible modification from the Department of Child Support Enforcement once every three years. It is important that the parent making a request keep a copy of the request as proof. The request should include the reasons the request is being made, the date, the child support case number and the signature of the filing parent.
A motion to modify a child support order in Maryland may be filed in the circuit court where the initial order was made at any time. The motion is filed by filling out a form that can be found in the circuit court.
The court in Maryland requires that the parent requesting modification provide proof that the circumstances surrounding the support order have changed significantly since the order was initially made.
Examples of significant circumstances where a judge may grant modification include:
- One parent’s income increases or decreases by at least 25%. If the income decreases by less than 25%, the request may still be made, but the judge may not consider it enough for a change.
- One parent receives a large amount of money
- The child’s circumstances (e.g child falls ill, develops physical or mental disability)
- The child grows and requires more support in order to pay for clothes, education, healthcare etc.
- Either parent becomes unemployed (involuntarily).
- Either parent is convicted and sent to jail.
- Either parent becomes disabled (physically or mentally)
Child Support Modification should always be done through the court in Maryland. Verbal agreements on child support are not reliable and may cause issues in the future due to a misunderstanding between the parents. Any agreements related to the child support should be put in writing to avoid confusion. The court does not recognise verbal agreements. For instance, John pays $500 in child support to his ex-wife Jane. John is fired from his job and asks Jane that he pay $200 instead until he finds another job. Jane agrees and receives $200 in child support. 5 months later, John is rehired and returns to paying the original $500, however, Jane calls him and demands that he pay the rest of the money he owed her in child support for the past 5 months. John refuses based on their verbal agreement and Jane decide to file a lawsuit. Since the court does not recognise the verbal agreement, the judge rules in Jane’s favour and John is ordered to pay $700 every month until he fully pays the $1500 owed.