Columbia Family Lawyers Ensuring Fair Child Support Agreements
Helping children get the financial support they need to thrive after divorce or separation
Child support is more than just healthcare and clothing; it is an agreement that both parents will share in the associated costs of raising a child. At McCabe Russell, PA, our Columbia child support attorneys understand that the phrase “doing what is in the best interest of the child” begins with giving a child a good home in a community where children has access to education and opportunities that will benefit him or her. Our lawyers are tough advocates who do the cross-examination, investigation and financial review necessary to accurately determine how much income a parent is really earning and getting fair child support.
What guidelines are used to determine the amount of child support due?
In the past, child support officers and the family court would examine how the parents are spending their money, and estimate how much is left to give the other spouse for child support. Now, Maryland uses a strict set of guidelines which review:
- The incomes of both parents
- The cost of healthcare for the child
- The cost of education for the child
- Incoming (or outgoing) spousal support or child support from a previous marriage
- The number of children in the household
- The cost of daycare (if applicable) for the child
- How much time the children spend with each parent
In specific cases, Howard County family courts may choose to deviate from the standard guidelines, but that is up to the discretion of the judge. In high-income cases, for example, where the parents earn more than $15,000 a month, the guidelines are not always used. Instead, the amount of support is negotiated or decided by a judge to properly reflect the amount of support in light of the parents’ respective incomes.
Furthermore, you should not assume that simply because you have physical custody of your children that child support is a given. It is possible to be denied support, or ordered to pay support, even if you have more custodial days with your child than your co-parent.
We review all relevant financial information when it comes to support
Part of being a good lawyer is the ability to analyze and value each parent’s income and assets, to ensure that your child receives all he or she is entitled to be given. Some of the ways we determine how much someone is earning are by:
- Examining W-2 forms
- Examining 1099 forms
- Looking at pay stubs
- Reviewing tax returns
- Investigating business interests
- Analyzing profit and loss statements
- Reviewing employee benefits
- Questioning the spouse at the support hearing
- Examining each spouse’s lifestyle to see if there is a match between reported income and how they are living
What happens if my co-parent quits his/her job to avoid the child support obligation?
If a parent quits his or her job because he or she believes that this will allow him or her to avoid paying child support, a judge might consider that parent to be “voluntarily impoverished,” and impute income to calculate the child support he or she should be contributing.
In addition to a regular monthly child support payment, we work to have the other parent carry a child on his/her health insurance, to name the child as a beneficiary on life insurance, to pay for day care costs and to cover extra expenses if a child has special needs. If there are expensive travel expenses that require a child to travel by plane or by other high-cost means, the responsibility for those expenses should also be made part of the child support order. In some cases, we sometimes employ accountants and other financial professionals to calculate a parent’s true income.
How are child support orders enforced and modified in Maryland?
Our attorneys do more than just help parents get the right support order. If a parent is not paying what is due, then we seek to enforce the court order. If our client can no longer pay what he or she is required to pay in child support, we seek a modification of the order.
Support orders can only be changed when the circumstances behind the orders change. Examples of changes are:
- A parent’s income significantly (not marginally) increases or decreases for a justifiable reason
- The physical custody order changes
- A parent’s health changes
- A child develops special needs
Types of Cases We Handle
Our Columbia attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:
|Divorce||Asset Division||Alimony||Child Custody|
|Child Support||Same-Sex Divorce||Same-Sex Child Custody/Support|
Talk to an experienced Columbia child support attorney today
Mortgages, rent, clothing, food, piano lessons, braces, books and other items your child needs can cost a fortune. At McCabe Russell, PA, we work aggressively to make certain a co-parent pays his/her fair share. To understand your child support rights and defenses, please call us at 443-812-1435 or use our contact form to make an appointment with one of our lawyers in Columbia, Bethesda, Rockville or Fulton.