In Maryland, you can always file a motion to modify custody or child support, but there are certain things you have to prove to get a modification. To get the court to actually modify your custody or child support order, you must file the Motion, serve the opposing party, appear for a hearing and prove that there’s been a material change in circumstances that warrants a modification.
To modify custody, you must prove the material change affects the welfare of the child—that is the legal definition—and it can be more difficult than you would think. Several factors go into proving a material change. It is helpful to talk with an attorney to discuss if you can get over the hurdle of proof. If you don’t prove the material change, the court will not consider anything; they will leave your order exactly as is and the clock will restart. If the court denies your motion to modify today, due to no material change in circumstance, then you come back in six months, the court will only look at the last six months when determining if there’s been a material change in circumstance. It’s very important you have a good idea of what is considered a material change.
The second thing you must prove in a modification of custody is that what you’re asking the court to do is in the best interest of the minor child(ren). At this point the court will consider the same factors that it considered when your custody order was first entered.
Child support is also modifiable if you can prove there’s been a material change in circumstance. With child support, a material change in circumstance comes down to numbers, or a financial change. Generally, if one party’s income changes by 25%, up or down, that can be considered a material change. Similarly, if the expenses related to child support, like alimony, childcare, or health insurance, change so much that your base child support obligation is going to be different by 25% or more, that’s can be a material change.
When it comes to alimony, that’s another thing that may be modifiable. It depends on how your alimony was ordered, whether it was ordered by a court after a hearing, or whether it’s in a settlement agreement. Alimony is something that is often agreed to in writing. The terms of the alimony provision in your agreement will dictate whether the court can modify it or not.
For more information on Divorce Law in Maryland, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (443) 300-2335 today.