With children come responsibilities. One of the most important of those is to financially support your children, so providing them a safe and stable home with sufficient resources to insure their success in the community as they mature to adulthood. That responsibility is not diminished by the failure of a marriage or relationship. Rather, that responsibility is accentuated as both parents must make their best effort to insulate their children from the economic strain caused by setting up two separate homes.
At Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills LLP, we protect the children of divorce and separation, while simultaneously protecting our client’s best interests.
The Calculation of Child Support:
In Maryland, the child support guidelines presents a formula that, for most families, will determine the amount of child support to be paid. This formula considers the parents’ income, their childcare expenses, cost of health insurance, the visitation/time sharing schedule and in some instances, medical expenses.
However, every case is unique. As a result, an able advocate is essential to assist a parent in presenting those facts that will allow the Court to get a complete picture of the needs of the children and each parent’s ability to provide financial support to meet those needs. If the parents are high earners, the guidelines can often become less important as the focus can shift to determining the cost of the children’s established lifestyle. Under these circumstances, the need for counsel becomes even more important as preparation of a financial statement and the determination the children’s needs requires a thoughtful analysis of spending.
Child Support Agreements:
Since most claims for child support are resolved by way of agreement, the lawyers at Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills LLP, have become adept in the development of provisions that provide for the children in ways that do not require large cash transfers each month. Parents can and often do put their children first and agree to have some of the children’s expenses paid directly by one or both parents, such as the costs of private school, extracurricular activities, and summer camp. Able counsel can make all the difference is getting an agreement on support that meets the children long term needs but also protects the parent from undue financial distress.
Child Support Modification:
Life is not static and commonly parents experience changes in their personal and financial lives that require a review of the amount of child support paid. The custodial parent (recipient of support), must be ready to advocate for the children’s share of their parents’ incomes. To that end, a modification can be appropriate if the noncustodial parent substantially increases their income (for example, more than 25%), the children or child’s needs increase due to changes in the cost of living, participation in a sport or increased expenditures due to a child’s illness or disability. Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills LLP can assist in efforts to seek a modification to increase or decrease child support as well as to defend against such a claim.
Non-payment of Child Support:
When a parent fails to pay support there are consequences. If you are the parent who is seeking to enforce the payment of support, there is a process by which you can recover the monies due you. Our office can sift through the facts surrounding the failure to provide support and tailor the action to enforce payment and collect what is owed using the best remedy the Courts provide. A parent can also find themselves needing to reduce support or defend a claim for non-payment. Given the possible consequences, which can include jail, loss of tax refunds, and loss of driving privileges, the need for representation becomes paramount.
The failure of a marriage or relationship is never a comfortable experience. There a many complications that arise and the lawyers of Dragga, Hannon, Hessler & Wills LLP can provide the best advice and assistance to allow you to meet your financial responsibility to your children while at the same time enable you to move on with your life.