Modification of Child Support in Maryland
In Maryland, child support can be modified post-judgment if there has been a material change in circumstance since entry of the Order setting child support.
FL Section 12-104The applicable Maryland statute is Section 12-104 of the Family Law article which provides:
Modification of child support
(a) The court may modify a child support award subsequent to the filing of a motion for modification and upon a showing of a material change of circumstance.
Modification not retroactive
(b) The court may not retroactively modify a child support award prior to the date of the filing of the motion for modification.
Proof of Material Change in CircumstancesMaterial here means 1) relevant to child support and, 2) of sufficient magnitude to justify a change. There is no bright-line cut-off stating any required minimum change in support. Obviously, the process requires time, effort and money, so minor increases or decreases are probably not worth pursuing.
You need solid information upon which to base a claim for modification of child support. So when we represent payees we generally include a requirement to exchange tax returns or annual income documents like W-2's and 1099's annually or bi-annually. If you are the child support claimant and don't know whether the payer's income has increased, it's risky to proceed on mere suspicion. And if your income has decreased that's probably not material because the child support payee's income does not change the presumptive child support amount much at most income levels since the adoption of new Maryland child support guidelines in 2010. Likewise, child support payers usually will not obtain a reduction in child support when the payee's income increases and the payer argues that the payee does not need all of the originally ordered support.
Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE)OCSE provides various services to child support claimants. The telephone number is (800) 332-6347 and the link to the website is below. OCSE services are free after a nominal registration fee and can be effective in straightforward cases, especially if the child support payer is earning wages or salary from a Maryland based employer. If your case is more complicated and time-consuming, well OCSE has a big caseload and it may be a while before they get to it.