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Q and A about paying child support in Maryland

When it comes to making support payments for one's child, it is normal to have quite a few questions. After all, child support payments have a significant impact on quality of life for both the paying parent and the affected child. This column will address some issues specific to child support paying parents in Maryland.

One of the most common questions about paying child support is: How does one make payments? It is not as simple as writing a check or handing over cash to the custodial parent. In accordance with the laws of the state, support orders are to be paid by wage attachment. This means that one's employer will be required to withhold money from his or her pay and redirect that money to child services for payment. If one is unemployed or transitioning between employers, it is possible to send checks or money orders to child support services personally.

The next big question many have is: How long must support payments be made? In Maryland, parents who are ordered to pay child support are generally responsible for making payments until his or her child turns 18. In some cases, an extension to the age of 19 may be ordered, if the child is still in high school. If, after the child is no longer considered a minor, child support payments are still past-due, payments must be made until the arrears have been paid in full.

The last question that will be discussed is: Can child support orders be modified? The short answer to this is, yes. A modification can be requested if a significant change in circumstances has occurred. Examples of acceptable changes in circumstances include income increase/decrease, new custody arrangements or a change in a child's needs.

These are just a few of many questions that child support paying parents in Maryland may have. One's legal counsel can provide further details about these specific topics and the numerous other questions and concerns that come with meeting one's support obligations. Child support orders can be challenging to deal with, but with assistance, it is possible to achieve support orders that are not only fair for individual circumstances, but provide for the needs of the affected children.

Source: dhr.state.md.us, "Paying Support: Frequently Asked Questions", Accessed on May 3, 2016

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