Divorce decrees may stipulate terms related to child custody and support. Both parties must abide by the terms or face potential consequences. An ex-spouse that refuses to pay child support, for example, may experience wage garnishment or even arrest. However, modifications to child support decrees are possible in Maryland family courts. Ex-spouses need to follow the appropriate process for procuring such changes.

Generally, the custodial parent must establish a valid reason for an increase. Sometimes, expenses could prove greater than expected initially. Education or medical care costs might increase since the original support decision occurred. Requesting the court make modifications when the non-custodial spouse can afford higher payments is an option.

Similarly, the non-custodial parent may ask for a reduction in child support payment amounts. Commonly, the ex-spouse does so after a job loss or other event that results in financial hardships. Income might not be stable for the parent. Financial hardships could make it impossible for a parent to provide the previously established monthly amount of support. Therefore, it may be necessary to return to family court to request a reduction.

Anyone requesting modifications might be required to present detailed proof. Simply going into court and mentioning that finances are “low” probably won’t be enough. Expect the court to ask for detailed proof of substantial hardships, income changes, or other issues.

Be mindful of the rules associated with modification requests. Each state has its regulations regarding the formal process to request support modifications. In Maryland, a parent may file a written motion with the circuit court. A particular form exists, one that serves as the written basis for the motion.

Formal modifications requests might be more complicated than the petitioner realizes. It may prove advisable to request an attorney’s assistance with the request.