Asking for a modification to a custody agreement -- when you don't have the agreement of your ex-spouse -- is a very big deal. The court generally hates to make changes to an existing agreement without a good reason.
You never know what the future will bring in regard to your finances, so there could come a point when you are no longer able to make your child support payments in full. If you find yourself in this position, you shouldn't wait a single day to learn more about obtaining a child support modification.
Many parents wonder if their child custody orders issued by a state family court judge are set in stone. In the vast majority of circumstances, a court will uphold the existing child custody orders unless there has been a substantial change in circumstances. These changes in circumstances could involve one parent getting a new job in another place that's far away, one parent going to jail and other kinds of situations.
The order issued by the family law court in your case may seem like it's final, but it's not. There are many circumstances in which you or your spouse could file a petition to modify the divorce decree in some way, shape or form. These circumstances usually need to involve a significant change in income or health of the individuals involved, but -- if you can qualify for such a modification -- you just might be able to get it.
In most Maryland divorces, the judge's decision is law and a family court will not alter that decision. That is, if the conditions and circumstances of yourself, your ex and your children stay the same. If there is a considerable change in circumstances, you might be able to go back to the court that issued your child custody ruling and ask for a modification.
What if you suffer a sudden heart attack, get into a car accident or get hurt in some way that prevents you from being able to work and earn a living? The condition is only temporary and you expect to be back on your feet in a couple of months; however, you're unable to make money to pay your child support. What should you do?
Let's say you got a divorce ten years ago when your child was two years old, and now you and your son's or daughter's situation has changed. Perhaps ten years ago, your son was healthy and the normal amount of child support was sufficient to pay for his or her needs, but now your son has contracted a debilitating illness that is costly to treat. A divorce modification could be away for you to seek an increase in child support payments from you ex to help make financial ends meet.
Just like everything else in life, your divorce ruling is not necessarily set in stone. If your life circumstances have changed substantially since the family court judge made a decision on your case, you might be able to apply for a modification.
If you're a single parent, your child is probably the most important person in your world. If you're a single non-custodial parent, though, you probably only get to see your child every other weekend or once or twice a week. It can be hard to spend that time away from your child, but the idea of losing all access to your child is even more frightening. Unfortunately, that's what could happen if you can't pay your child support payments on time.
In the vast majority of divorce decisions made by Maryland family law courts, there's nothing that can be done. The spouses at the center of the case will need to accept the judge's ruling. However, in some situations that are particularly complicated to decide -- or in cases where a judge makes an error -- an appeal may be warranted.