MD Child Support Checklist
should file my complaint for child support?
2. Is the action between the natural parents or is a third
3. Is there a dispute as to paternity?
4. Is there an existing Custody/Visitation Order?
5. Is there a current Child Support Order?
6. If a Child Support Order has not been issued and the
parties cannot agree to a set amount for child support follow these steps.
7. Are you familiar with the Maryland Child Support
1. Where should file my complaint for child support? Is the Domicile of the Child in Maryland and in this County?
You should file your complaint
for child support in the state and county that is the domicile of the child. A
person may only have one domicile. A child's domicile is the place where the
child has his/her true, fixed and permanent home.
Yes - Party may file in this county.
No - Party must file in the proper state/county.
Md. Fam. Law Code Ann. �
1-201 - the equity court has continuing jurisdiction over the support of the
child. The parties need not be married and support can be sought by guardian of
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A. If Natural Parents Only - Continue to #3.
B. If a Third Party Involved, does the Third Party have existing an Guardianship Order for the child?
If Yes - Party may file complaint for Child Support against natural parents. Go to #3
If No - In order for a
third party to receive an award of support from a child's
natural parents, they should file a Petition for Guardianship and Support
If father denies and mother is seeking child support go to local child support enforcement agency (Domestic Relations in Anne Arundel/CSB in Baltimore City/CSE in Montgomery County) unless you want to file yourself pro se or be represented by counsel. There are no pro se forms for establishing paternity. Establishing paternity is usually beyond the capability of a pro se litigant because it involves the introduction of evidence which is beyond what can be expected of a pro se litigant.
If No, Go to #4.
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If Yes - Does the Custody/Visitation Order say anything about child support?
If Yes - Go to #5 (A).
If No - Go to #5 (B).
If there is no existing
Custody/Visitation Order, then: File a Complaint
for Custody. This is advisable because child support will be addressed by
the court in the Custody case. While the parties may be amicable now, a Custody
Order is valuable if the parties disagree later. If you do not wish to pursue
custody, go to #5.
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If Yes - Are the parties complying with the order?
If Yes - Unless there is a substantial change in circumstances, there is not much chance of changing your child support obligation.
What is a substantial change depends on the court's determination. Modification will not be granted absent a showing of a "clearly indicated change in Circumstances, need and pecuniary condition of the parties" Langrell v. Langrell, 145 Md. 340 (1924). No standard percentage increase in expenses and income has been held to meet the "substantial change" requirement. However, the Courts have generally agreed that a greater than 25% difference is a substantial change.
If there is a substantial change, then file Motion to Modify Child Support with
Financial Statement (Dom Rel 31).
If there is a Child Support Enforcement Order issued Call the Child Support Enforcement Agency to determine if they are required to enforce the order because sometimes CSE will act as a collector/distributor.
If CSE is required to enforce order, request they do so. They may require you to do this in writing. Even if they don't require it to be in writing, it is best if you send them a letter. Keep copies all letters sent. Take notes on all your phone conversations; be sure to include the date, time and name of the person you spoke with.
If CSE is merely a collector/distributor continue as if no Order had been issued.
If No Child Support Enforcement Order Has Been Issued:
File the following documents:
Petition/Motion for Contempt
Blank Show Cause Order
Blank Earnings Withholding Order
You can have an attorney from the local Child Support Enforcement Agency represent you in a child support action even if you are not on AFDC (welfare) by paying $20.00 to the agency and requesting assignment of an attorney. However, you may find that going through the Child Support Enforcement Agency takes longer than representing yourself as a pro se litigant because of the Agency's Backlog.
If you are on AFDC or
gets money from Social Services you must go to the Child Support Enforcement
Agency to get the order enforced.
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6. If a Child Support Order has not been issued and the parties cannot agree to a set amount for child support follow these steps.
Alternative #1: You can have an attorney from the local Child Support Enforcement Agency represent you in a child support action even if you are not on AFDC (welfare) by paying $20 to the agency and requesting assignment of an attorney. However, you may find that going through the Child Support Enforcement Agency takes longer than representing yourself as a pro se litigant because of the Agency's Backlog.
.Alternative #2: File the complaint yourself and turn the Child Support Order over to the Child Support Agency for collection.
Alternative #3: File the Complaint for Child Support yourself and attempt collection yourself through the courts directly after you receive a child support order.
The Maryland Child
Support Guidelines are established by Maryland statute and have been
established so that the parties has realistic expectations of the potential
support award. In almost all circumstances the parties cannot agree to a lesser
amount than is required by the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. If you and
your spouse are filing for an uncontested divorce and you have children you must
also complete the Child Support Worksheet and Financial Statements and bring
them to the hearing. Your Child Support Worksheet must show that child support
payments meet the minimum standard s required by the Maryland Child Support
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