Howard and Montgomery County Family Lawyers Helping Parents Modify Child Custody and Child Support Orders
Protecting parents’ interests in Columbia, Rockville, Bethesda and Fulton
Child custody and support orders take substantial effort, negotiation and, sometimes, litigation to obtain. Maryland family courts recognize that this hard work should not be taken lightly. That is why only a significant change in the circumstances of the parents or child may warrant the modification of any order.
Our Howard and Montgomery County child custody and support lawyers represent parents who want to increase or reduce support orders. From our offices in Fulton, Columbia, Bethesda and Rockville, we are prepared to help parents modify their child custody or support orders. We advocate for parents when they wish to obtain a custody right they did not have before, such as sole custody instead of joint custody. We fight for parents who want to change visitation schedules that are not working out. At McCabe Russell, PA, our team of lawyers works for parents who are concerned about a parent’s new marriage, that a parent is perhaps unfit, or any circumstance that raises concerns about the other parent’s ability to care for the child.
Modifying a child custody order
In any modification request, the starting point will be the existing child custody agreement or court order. Typically, agreements are made part of a court order. A parent seeking a child custody modification must show that there has been a material change of circumstance and that the change affects the child’s best interests. Some changes that normally can cause a change in legal custody or physical custody are:
- Health issues. A child develops health problems that require he/she attend a special school and routinely get medical help such as physical therapy and psychological counseling. A parent may develop health issues too that make it harder to care for a child.
- Relocation. A parent moves to another county or state.
- A parent remarries. A new spouse can necessitate a change if the couple moves into a new home or the home of the step-parent. A parent may not think the step-parent is competent to help raise their child.
- A change in work schedule. A parent who gets a new job or has an increase/decrease in work hours may not be able to be at home when the child is home.
Other changes that can necessitate a child custody modification are if a parent becomes incarcerated, develops an addiction or is abusive to the children. Modifications can work in reverse as well. A parent may be released from jail or may have medically addressed any addiction issues. Our lawyers have experience with a wide variety of changes in circumstances, and we explain what circumstances might require a custody change order and what the new order should include.
Modifying a child support order
Children have the right to enjoy the financial rewards when a parent gets a new job, a promotion or his/her business takes off. Child support is not meant to be a baseline. If the non-custodial parent’s earnings grow substantially, the child has the right to increased support. In the same manner, if a parent legitimately loses a job, then the parent has the right to request that a child support order be reduced until the parent can get comparable work.
Other reasons a change in a child support order may be approved are:
- The parent paying support:
- Has a new child
- Incurs medical problems that require attention or that reduce the ability to earn a living
- Goes on disability
- The child has special medical needs that must be paid for
- A parent relocates, which can mean increased travel expenses or other legitimate expenses to see and take care of the child
Get help from an experienced Montgomery and Howard County attorney when family circumstances change
Child support and child custody orders are generally valid until the child reaches 18 years of age. These orders can be changed, but only if the family situation changes. At McCabe Russell, PA, our lawyers bring claims on behalf of parents who want to modify legal custody, physical custody, or the amount of child support. Our Maryland child modification lawyers also advocate for parents who think the current orders should not be changed. To review your case with a caring skilled family attorney, please call us at 443-917-3347 or fill out our contact form. We see clients in our offices in Fulton, Columbia, Bethesda and Rockville.