Retiree ..child support payments


            Posted on Jan 27,2013       

            Retiree wants to reduce child support payments

Q.  I got divorced 38 years ago when I lived in Maryland.  My wife got primary physical custody of our child, who had a profound birth defect and who would never become self supporting.

As our daughter got to age 18, my ex-wife took out a guardianship and asked the court to order me to keep paying child support.  And, I've been paying all these years.

 I moved to Massachusetts many years ago. Now at age 65, I've retired and the only income I've got is from Social Security. But the child support order is based on what I was making.

Is there any chance I can get the child support to stop-- or reduced?

  J.S., Cambridge


A.   You should be able to get some, if not full relief.  But you need to immediately file a complaint for modification in the court in Maryland that issued the support order.

You can get the needed forms by going to Google and typing in "courts state Maryland family forms child support."�  Then look for the package of forms needed to file for modification of an existing support order. You'll have to file a complaint asking the court to end or at least reduce your payments.  You may have to pay filing fee.

There are instructions on how to serve your ex-wife with a copy of the complaint and summons.  Also prepare a motion for a temporary reduction or end to the child support. Call the court to get a day when your motion can be heard by the judge.  Serve that motion on your ex-wife, telling her of the hearing date and demanding a copy of her updated financial statement. You'll also have to file your financial statement.

If public services are involved, you also have to send that agency a copy of your complaint and motion.

Also, go online and look up the "Maryland child support calculator."� Then plug in the needed information to see what your new order will be if your ex-wife has no income.  Once you know your ex-wife's income, do a second calculation. Then ask her if she'd agree on that amount as a new order.  If yes, get the agreement in writing, signed by both of you. Have it approved by the court and incorporated into a new order.

If there is no agreement, then you need to go to Maryland for the court hearing where the judge should, at the least, because of your drop in income, cut your payment.