While formulaic, at times some child support disputes can sometimes involve complex issues requiring creativity and the ability to think outside the box. Our highest priority is to protect the best interests of your children and ensure that they are satisfactorily provided within the confines of child support laws. State guidelines provide the foundation for determining child support payments. Consult with a child support attorney at Hecht & Associates and we can work with you on covering all the necessary terms.
Our attorneys will work diligently to put your mind at ease during this trying time and will handle all aspects concerning child support agreements including:
- Creating a child support order
- Modifying an existing child support agreement
- Enforcement of an existing child support agreement
- Tax exemptions pertaining to child support
- Termination of a child support order
Divorce is never easy, and when children are part of the picture, the problems only intensify. Regardless of all other concerns, their welfare should takes precedence. Often, the courts will award custody to just one party and require the non-custodial parent to pay child support.
The actual amount of this payment is a main consideration. Although it could differ widely depending on the circumstances, it must be sufficient in amount to allow the children to maintain their accustomed standard of living and retain their station in society.
How Maryland Makes the Determination
To establish an appropriate monetary figure, the state of Maryland turns to a specific formula that takes into account:
– The parent with whom the child regularly spends the greatest number of nights.
– The monthly gross income of the mother compared to that of the father.
On occasion, in the hopes of scoring a smaller payment or greater compensation, one or both parties to a child custody case will voluntarily claim to be impoverished or under-employed. Therefore, the latter calculation might additionally consider the potential earning capability of the parent in question.
Back Child Support
In Maryland, child support payments accrue from the date of filing. Therefore, the judge can award payments dating back to that occasion.
The Tax Implications of Child Support
For taxation purposes, child support payments are subject to a special set of rules. While the recipient, or obligee, will not count child support as income, neither can the responsible parent, or obligor, deduct these payments on a federal return. The custodial parent may, in most cases, file as head-of-household, claiming child-care credits and dependent-child exemptions.
Extent of Child Support Obligations
In most states, parents must provide for the needs of their children until they attain majority. In Maryland, child support payments can legally cease when the youngster in question has reached the age of 18.
When the Obligor Loses Income
The parent who loses a job, files for bankruptcy or suffers any other form of financial difficulty can normally request a modification of his child support obligations. This can consist of either a court order or a written agreement, signed by both parties, defining a temporary payment reduction or deferment. However, regardless of how dire the circumstances, the obligor will rarely enjoy a permanent release from child support obligations.
The law requires parents to provide their children with financial support. Enforcement methods can differ from one state to another, but in Maryland, they often include interception of income realized through federal income tax refunds, government payments and lottery winnings.
The courts can also punish child support law offenders by:
- Suspending their driver’s or professional licenses
- Refusing to issue them passports
- Placing liens on their real or personal property
- Sentencing them to jail
Despite their degree of severity, none of these punishments will absolve defaulters of their responsibility for paying child support.
If the obligor should default, the injured party can either contact a government-run collection agency or ask the courts to:
- Garnish wages
- Intercept tax refunds
- Issue a judgment lien
- Hold the defaulter in contempt
Don’t Try to do it Alone
If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, an experienced child support attorney can help you sort things out. In addition to answering any questions you may have, our experienced child support law firm can initiate a proceeding, modify an existing court order or press enforcement of one that already exists.
Hecht & Associates can also handle matters of alimony.
The child support lawyers of Hecht & Associates have helped many a parent navigate these treacherous waters, and their extensive knowledge of the child support laws as they apply to Maryland residents can help you through these difficult times. Feel free to call our child support law office at 301-587-2099 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation with a child support attorney.