Maryland has one of the highest scales in the country for the calculation of child support. Thus, it can result in situations where a parent ends up in arrears and in trouble with the legal system. To avoid this, parents should proactively take steps if they feel that they will be unable to pay their child support in full.
Specifically, parents should seek a modification in the event that their child support obligation is more than they can afford. They will usually have to show a reason why the amount should be lowered. This can include unemployment, reduced income or other changed circumstances. They should not try to make an informal oral agreement with the other parent because those are not binding.
Only agreements made through a court order can effectively reduce a parent’s child support. Otherwise, the parent may end up being subjected to a court order in the future that finds them in arrears. Then, there could be adverse consequences for the parent such as wage garnishment or even jail time in extreme circumstances. In any event, parents should make sure to get out ahead in dealing with this because until a child support order is actually modified, the obligation will continue to accrue. Lowering child support is not always easy, but it is possible based on the situation.
A child support attorney may be able to assist their client in presenting their case to the Office of Child Support Enforcement to persuade the court to lower a child support order. The order will usually remain in place until the court is shown why the parent needs to change it, and child support modifications that lower child support are not always easy to obtain. However, legal counsel might give parents a better chance of demonstrating their circumstances.