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When the courts modify a child support ruling or agreement

Child support orders are legally binding, but it's important for parents to realize that the orders can be changed. There is a variety of reasons that a parent in Maryland who is making or receiving child support payments can request a modification of a child support order. It's best to file these motions in court so that the modification is legally binding. Verbal agreements are more easily confused down the road.

Modification of a child support order is usually made if the income of a parent changes substantially. In Maryland, the courts will likely alter a support order if the income of a parent changes by 25 percent or more. This is regardless of whether a parent's income has increased or decreased.

For example, the paying parent may not have as much money as he or she once did. Orders can also be altered due to a change in circumstances of the parent who receives payments. For instance, that parent could suddenly come into a large amount of money.

Even the results of a child growing older can justify a child support modification. The cost of food and clothes can increase as the child grows up, so the courts would consider increasing a child support order in these situations.

Working out the details relating to children of a divorce can be complicated. When a parent's life circumstances change, it may be time to request a modification of a child support order. With legal assistance, a parent may be able to ensure he or she is represented fairly in the new order.

Source: The People's Law Library of Maryland , "Modifying Child Support", October 20, 2014

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