If a child support order was part of your divorce, a judge likely considered many factors when deciding on a fair payment amount. In addition to the income and other resources of both you and your former spouse, the court may have weighed your children’s specific health and educational needs.
However, Maryland law recognizes that these and other factors may change dramatically between the time you divorce and the time your children become adults. As in other states, MA allows divorced parents to request a change in support amounts if circumstances have altered substantially.
When might modification be possible?
Either you or your former spouse may ask the court to review your current support order and determine whether to change payment amounts. The court may approve modification if it finds that your family resources or your children’s needs have changed significantly since the current order went into effect.
What are examples of reasons to seek modification?
The court may either increase or decrease payment amounts after reviewing your modification request. Common examples of changed circumstances that could lead to support modification include:
- Non-voluntary reduction in income and/or employment or an increase in income by either parent
- Changes in a child’s educational, medical or day-care needs
- Changes in the cost or availability of health insurance for children
- A child reaching adulthood or becoming emancipated
If you and your former spouse have a reasonably civil relationship, you may find it tempting to work out an informal agreement about changing support amounts. However, even if you agree on the modification, receiving court approval is essential for avoiding legal penalties and potential conflict in the future.