Modification of Custody and/or Child Support
Once the Court in Maryland has made an initial custody and child support determination, either parent can go back to Court and ask that a custody order or a child support order be modified. Modified means that the order be changed in some way. Do not go through this Court proceedings on your own, our Maryland child custody modification lawyer can help you.
In the case of child support, the parent could ask that the child support order – which sets forth the amount of child support being paid – be increased or decreased. A modification of custody means the parent is asking that physical custody, joint custody, or even the visitation schedule be changed in some way.
A modification to the order can be made regardless whether it was the judge who decided custody and child support or if the parents entered into a signed agreement (often called a Consent Custody Order). When deciding whether to modify a custody or child support order, the judge’s main focus is still on what is in the best interest of the minor child.
The parent who is seeking a modification of custody or child support, bears the burden of proving to the judge that there should be a change to the previous order. To do this, the parent must show the judge that there has been a material change in circumstances.
In the context of custody, the parent must show that there has been material change in circumstances which adversely impact or could adversely impact the welfare of the child. Regarding child support, a material change in circumstances would be things like the parent’s income changing (either increasing or decreasing) or the parent being ordered to pay child support for another child.
Additionally, when considering whether to file a Motion to Modify Child Support, it is important to keep in mind that the judge cannot retroactively modify a child support award prior to the date of filing a Motion to Modify. For example, say the father is paying child support to the mother in the amount of $400.00 per month. The father gets a raise on January 1 and will now be making more money per month than he made when child support was previously calculated. The mother learns the father is making substantially more income per month, but for whatever reason, she does not file a Motion to Modify Child Support with the Court until June 1. A modification hearing is held in October 1 and the Judge determines the father should now be paying $600.00 per month in child support pursuant to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Even though the father was making more money starting January 1, the judge can only order that the father start paying $600.00 per month starting June 1 because that is the date the mother filed her motion. Whether you are seeking to modify a child support order or custody order, our experienced and knowledgeable Maryland child custody modification lawyer will be able to assist you. Don’t delay in contacting our office.