Everyone assumes they know certain things about family law cases. For example, when you share custody of your children with your ex-spouse, and your ex-spouse has the children the majority of the time, many people might assume that either you are paying child support to your ex-spouse or that neither parent is paying support.
Did you know that this does not necessarily have to be the case? In some situations, based on what you make and what your ex-spouse makes, your ex-spouse may actually be the one to pay support, even though the children reside with you less than 50% of the time. This just goes to show that you should never assume when it comes to the law. Instead, contact an experienced Maryland family law attorney to get the facts.
As an example of how this can happen, there’s the case of N.K. and M.B. N.K., the mother, made $108,000 annually as a physician. Initially, the father made $130,000 annually and paid the mother $1,432 a month in child support. The father had the children for 128 overnights, and the children stayed with the mother the remaining 65% of the time.
Three years after the divorce, the father asked to modify child support. He had evidence, which included the expert testimony of his accountant, indicating that his income had plummeted to just $31,000. The trial court largely accepted the father’s evidence, ultimately concluded that the father had experienced the sort of “material change in circumstances” that the law requires to make a change to child support. The court also ruled that, after this change, the father’s income had dropped from $130,000 to $32,500.
The judge used those new income figures and applied them to the Maryland child support guidelines. The guidelines indicated that, because the mother made more than triple what the father did, the child support calculation was drastically different. Even though the mother had the children 65% of the time, the father’s reduction in income indicated that he went from paying $1,432 per month to receiving $368 per month in child support from the mother.
This positive outcome for the father was based upon his legal team’s understanding of the proper amount of evidence needed (and what was not needed.) The father offered several of his and his entities’ income tax returns in recent years, along with the expert testimony of his accountant. The mother tried to argue that the father was obligated by Maryland law to provide, not only the tax returns, but also copies of his receipts and expenses, in order to be entitled to the modification he sought. The courts concluded that this was not correct and that the proof the father gave the trial judge was sufficient to support the motion he made.
Are you facing a family law-related case such as a motion to modify child support? An improperly calculated and assessed child support obligation amount may do substantial harm to your financial ability to be involved fully in parenting your child, so don’t go it alone. Be sure you have the effective legal representation you need. Contact skilled Maryland family law attorney Anthony A. Fatemi, who has been successfully representing mothers and fathers in Maryland child support cases for many years. To learn more, contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.