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Modifying support payments through the court or with an ex-spouse

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Modifications |

Divorce often includes a court-ordered financial arrangement for paying or receiving child support. According to the Maryland Department of Human Services, the court calculates an income share model based on one parent having child custody or both parents sharing custody.

A spouse’s income and the number of children generally factor into a couple’s payment schedule. The court also reviews expenses for each child’s health insurance, daycare and medical needs. A change in financial circumstances, however, may require a change in the arrangement.

Requesting a financial support modification

Once the court establishes a financial schedule, an individual must follow it as ordered. Failing to uphold it may result in contempt-of-court allegations. In extreme cases, the court may move to withhold child support from an individual’s paycheck or unemployment benefits.

Sudden financial hardship may result in an inability to maintain the original arrangement. By requesting a support modification, a judge may review each spouse’s circumstances and order a change in funding. A revised payment amount may then fit into an individual’s current budget.

Discussing alternative financial plans with an ex-spouse

Some couples may prefer to work out a temporary financial arrangement without the court’s interference. As reported by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, contacting an ex-spouse when experiencing a loss of income or earnings may result in an out-of-court modification.

By negotiating a new payment arrangement, two ex-spouses may work through their financial issues. Preparing for the possibility of reduced payments may give each party time to make budget adjustments.

Communication between ex-spouses may avoid lengthy delays in requesting a modification through the court. If ex-spouses have the ability to work out revised payments and agree on a new schedule, it may shorten the process. An oral agreement, however, may require a written document to prevent disputes or allegations of nonpayment.