Towson Post-Divorce Modifications Lawyer
A divorce decree does more than just end a marriage. It also includes enforceable court orders that can determine how parents share custody of the children and who pays child support to whom, as well as whether any alimony payments will be made, who will pay them, how much and for how long. Unless appealed, these orders are final and will continue to impact the parties for years into the future. What happens, then, if circumstances later change, altering the needs of the adults or children subject to the orders? It’s possible in some cases to modify existing court orders to reflect changing needs, but the process can be difficult to navigate successfully, especially if one party is resisting any change. Lebovitz Law can help. Our Maryland family law attorney will take the time to listen to you and discuss your needs, determine your eligibility for a modification, and guide you and represent you through the process for an effective resolution that meets your needs. We represent parties seeking or opposing modifications in Baltimore County and throughout Maryland with an eye toward solving problems, resolving conflict, and getting results in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Contact our experienced Towson post-divorce modifications lawyer today.
Child Support Modifications in Maryland
Things change for everyone, and children’s needs certainly change as they grow. For that reason, child support modifications are built into the law, and parents can ask for a review of child support every three years. For a modification at other times, it is necessary to go to court and file a motion to modify the child support order. The party making the motion must prove that there has been a material change in circumstances that significantly alters the child’s life and requires a support modification. If the other parent opposes the modification, the judge will have to hold a hearing and decide whether to modify the support order after listening to arguments from both sides.
While no circumstance automatically qualifies as a material change, the following events often provide the grounds for a motion to modify child support:
- A substantial change up or down in the income of the paying or receiving parent
- One of the parents remarries
- One of the parents has a new child
- Paying parent loses their job
- Paying parent has a medical condition or disability
- The paying parent becomes incarcerated
- A change in the child’s needs
- A change in the custodial arrangement
Modification of Maryland Child Custody Orders
As with child support, child custody orders can be modified if the court is convinced there has been a significant material change in circumstances. Any proposed modification must be proven to be in the best interest of the child and not merely for the convenience or desire of the parent. The party requesting the modification would have to show how the proposed new arrangement would be better for the child than the existing custody order.
Examples of situations that might justify modifying custody include:
- The child is being neglected by the custodial parent
- The child is in a dangerous environment, such as being in the presence of illegal drugs or an abusive adult
- The custodial parent is seeking to move out of state
- The custodial parent is not complying with custody exchanges or visitation schedules
- The custodial parent is misusing child support funds, i.e., not using them for the benefit of the child
Modification of Alimony Amount or Duration
In a limited or absolute divorce, the parties can agree to alimony payments, or the court can order alimony on one party’s motion after a contested hearing. The agreement or the court order will specify the amount and duration of alimony, and each of these can be modified post-divorce. The Maryland Code section on alimony allows the court to extend the period for an alimony award if the recipient petitions the court for an extension and the court finds an extension is necessary to avoid a harsh and inequitable result. Additionally, either party can petition the court to modify the amount of alimony, and the court can modify the amount “as circumstances and justice require.”
Contact Lebovitz Law Today
If you are seeking or opposing a modification of the child custody, child support, or alimony award that was ordered in your Maryland divorce, the Baltimore County family law attorney at Lebovitz Law can help you reach an agreement with your former spouse or represent you in court to find a solution that works for you and your family. Call our experienced Towson post-divorce modifications lawyer today.