Saint Louis, MO asked in Family Law and Child Support for Maryland

Q: Looking at going to a Tech school to get certified so I can get a better job, what happens with my child support?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: If there's a court order directing payment of child support, it remains in place until one of the parents files a motion to modify it, based on a change of circumstances. So, unless that happens, and the court makes a modification based on the motion, then nothing changes. If the other parent is the one paying child support, the assumption is that your going to school will mean you cannot earn as much money, so your income goes down. In that scenario, that means the paying parent's percentage of the gross income the two of you earn goes up, which under the Guidelines, results in that parent paying a larger percentage of the child support number based on your combined monthly gross income. Whether that results in more or less child support depends on the amount of the combined monthly income the two of you are earning. In addition, if there is a change in work-related child care expenses or health insurance coverage for the children, then the child support amount is affected by those changes as well. I imagine that if the other parent goes to a lawyer and they recalculate what the child support should be under the new circumstances, and if it results in a lower child support payment, then they would file a motion to modify; otherwise, they would not. It may be more difficult for you to justify requesting more child support in this scenario, since you are making a voluntary decision to reduce your income by trading a job for unpaid (and costly) college training. The other parent could argue that you have voluntarily impoverished yourself, and ask the court to "impute" the income you should be earning by not attending college. However, when a parent invests in themselves to better their income earning potential, with a clear plan (like a specific degree/certificate by a set graduation date) most judges will not hold that against the parent.

Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste
Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Towson, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: In such a situation, your child support may be recalculated. However, the other party or you would need to initiate a modification.

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