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You can modify child support and custody. Per law, those areas of a family law case are always modifiable. You can modify alimony if there’s no prohibition on that modification. There’s no language to allow you to modify a divorce order, meaning you won’t be able to change an order for the property split unless there’s some kind of an error. You can appeal, but you won’t be allowed to modify anything unless your ex-spouse agrees.

Can Child Support Payments Be Reduced If My Income Has Dramatically Gone Down?

If your income has been reduced by 20 to 30% or so, you have grounds to modify. If you’re suddenly paying additional money for daycare, health insurance, or any extraordinary medical expenses, you can also modify based on those new expenses. You have to be careful and make sure your income and overall financial situation changed. If you won the lottery and quit your job, you would have a difficult time modifying the case based on lost income.

Can Child Support Be Increased If The Payer Is Making Substantially More Money Now Than At The Time Of The Judgment?

Child support can be increased whenever there’s a ground called a material change of circumstances, either with additional money or less money. A substantial increase in money would warrant a modification just as a substantial decrease would.

I Pay Child Support, And My Income Remains The Same As At The Time Of The Divorce. Can I Get A Reduction In Child Support If My Parenting Time With The Children Substantially Increases?

If the parent who did not have sole custody assumes custody of the child, he/she would be entitled to a reduction in support and he/she would possibly be entitled to receive support payments. The non-custodial parent is obliged to pay child support to the custodial parent. In another scenario, if the parents start to share custody at a 50/50 level, that also could change the calculation of the child support compared.

Does The Same Rule Regarding A Material Change In Circumstance Apply To Maintenance And Alimony In Terms Of Modifications?

A material change of circumstances is the general catchphrase for any modifications of both alimony and child support. Once the court determines a change of circumstances for cases such as child support, that automatically triggers a recalculation of support orders. The alimony law is just a different evaluation than the child support law, but since they essentially both deal with the amount of money, you have grounds to initiate the case when there’s a material change of circumstances.

What Does The Court Consider A Substantial Change In Circumstances When It Comes To Modifying A Custody Agreement?

There are maybe 25 to 30 custody factors that the court looks at to determine what’s in the best interest of the child. But before they get to that, they have to first determine whether there’s been a material change of circumstances. When it comes to custody, the change has to affect the best interest of the child, so it’s usually something pretty significant like a parent moving out of state or across the country. That’s a very common change of circumstances.

Other changes that could substantiate a modification depending on the circumstances might include a child’s performance in school or the child’s health. A parent with deteriorating mental or physical health or a substance abuse issue could also count as a significant change, as would any domestic violence issues that could occur between spouses or between the spouse and a third party in front of the child—that would mean the home the child is living in is no longer the best environment for them. Overall, if the child’s not being cared for in a safe manner, the court will consider a modification.

Once it’s established that there’s been a change in circumstance, the court still has to make the best interest determination using those factors in determining what kind of new custody arrangement is best. Again, they won’t even do this second part of the evaluation unless they can find a change of circumstances, even if there are screaming reasons for doing it. Let’s say your child is very upset, but the court can’t find that any other circumstances have changed; you’re likely not going to get a modification. It’s a very complicated and unique two-step process.


Attorney Andrei Blakely spent nearly ten years as a journalist before settling down to practice family law in Baltimore and Montgomery County in Maryland. Attorney Blakely’s clear and straightforward communication gives a fresh perspective on topics critical to many Maryland families while rendering obscure and complex legal concepts accessible and empowering for his readers.

Connect with The Law Office Of Andrei Blakely for regular updates on essential Maryland family law developments and gain valuable insight into negotiating divorce and custody conflicts in Baltimore.

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