Are you considering divorce, but concerned about support payments because you make much less, or much more, than your spouse? Especially when only one spouse is earning a substantial income, the support issues in a divorce will need immediate attention and can prove contentious.
Whether you expect to pay or receive support payments in a metro Washington, D.C., divorce, the attorneys of Bromberg Rosenthal LLC can explain the key considerations and procedures. We have decades of experience helping area families with all aspects of divorce. Contact us in Rockville for additional information.
In each of the jurisdictions our lawyers practice in, child support is determined under a guidelines formula. In divorce, the amount of child support you will pay or receive is based on both spouses’ income and the number of children to be supported. Depending on where you live, the figure might be adjusted to credit the noncustodial parent for overnight visitation or shared custody.
While the guidelines amount is presumed to be the figure that the noncustodial parent will pay each month, special circumstances can support a parent’s case for raising or lowering the child support obligation. Our lawyers can let you know whether any of the unique circumstances of your case will likely justify a judge’s decision to adjust the child support payment accordingly.
In paternity cases, the father will generally be required to pay child support in the guidelines amount without any adjustment for overnight custody time until the father obtains a court order for custody or visitation.
Child support is intended to ensure that children do not suffer financially after a divorce. Our laws assert that children have the right to be supported by both parents — and our legislators believe it so strongly that child support payments are administered by the state. This means that your wages can be garnished, or other punitive measures may be taken, if you fail to make your payments in full. For that reason, it is important to seek help immediately if you are struggling to make your payments — it may be possible to modify the amount of your payment.
Alimony, known more formally in each jurisdiction as spousal support, is more negotiable than child support. Our attorneys can advise you about the availability and nature of alimony that might be awarded in your case. Keep in mind as well that the terms of a prenuptial agreement can sometimes result in the waiver of spousal support rights.
Alimony is intended to ensure that the economic effects of divorce do not affect one spouse more than the other. It is most often awarded where one spouse earned much more than the other: The lower-earning spouse would suffer without support from his or her ex. Alimony payments may be temporary — allowing the recipient time to find work or acquire the training necessary to become employable — or permanent. The courts consider a wide range of factors, including the age of the spouses and the length of the marriage, when determining the amount of alimony to be paid.
Maryland and the District of Columbia all apply somewhat different legal criteria for alimony awards. In Maryland, either spouse’s misconduct during the marriage can be a factor to be considered in a judge’s grant of alimony, such misconduct is not to be considered, at least in theory. More generally, alimony awards are based on need and the ability of the financially stronger spouse to pay it.
Email our family law attorneys in Rockville to ask your questions about child and spousal support in metro Washington, or call 301-251-6200 to schedule a consultation with Bromberg Rosenthal LLC.