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What to know about child support after divorce

When parents get a divorce in Maryland, one may have to pay child support to the other. In general, income and child-related expenses such as health care are part of the calculation for support payments. Both courts and parents may be flexible in taking various factors into account.

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, child support is no longer a factor in taxes. However, the custodial parent can usually claim their kid as a dependent on taxes. Some parents may want to share this ability. If they only have one child, parents could take turns claiming the dependent on alternate years. Parents who have more than one child may agree to split the claimed dependencies. Divorced parents may want to work with a tax advisor on these issues.

Parents should keep in mind that child support payments are subject to modification. A parent may become disabled or have a change in income that could mean a change in support is necessary. However, parents must go back to court to request this modification. It's important to note that child support is prioritized over spousal support. If child support payments are lowered, spousal support will usually follow suit.

Child support is normally paid by the noncustodial parent. However, the custodial parent is not allowed to deny the noncustodial parent access to the children if they don't get their support payments. Parents who are struggling to collect child support and have a formal legal agreement in place may be able to get assistance from the local child support enforcement office. Parents who need a modification should not delay in seeking it since such an action is not retroactive. A family law attorney could help custodial and noncustodial parents with both of these processes.

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