HOW MANY FATHERS IN MARYLAND HAVE TO PAY FOR CHILD SUPPORT?”

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HOW MANY FATHERS IN MARYLAND HAVE TO PAY FOR CHILD SUPPORT?”

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The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration has seen an 18 percent increase over the last year in requests for child support modifications, said Paula Tolson, spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Resources. In Prince George’s County, requests have tripled over the past 1 1/2 years. While historically requests have come from custodial parents who need an increase in support, many are now coming from noncustodial parents seeking a reduction, according to Joan Kennedy, director of the county’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. Many times the custodial parent feels the hit from a downward modification. Sometimes she has experienced her own income loss. Delaine Moore, a separated stay-at-home mom of three in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, said there have been fewer trips to the movies and McDonald’s and more activities at home since her ex’s oil field drilling work came to a halt in March. Her child support and spousal payments dropped from $6,500 a month to nothing. He has

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As the owner of a successful acupuncture clinic in a wealthy Washington suburb, David Vandenberg never had any problems making a $433 monthly child support payment. Until last year, when his business faltered and he went on unemployment. Unable to find another job, the 50-year-old Vandenberg moved to Arkansas to live with his parents. Now they’re paying the child support for him. “I felt I didn’t have any recourse,” said Vandenberg, who has a 12-year-old daughter and tried unsuccessfully for a court-approved reduction in his child support payments. After child support, “I get $100 a month in unemployment.” With the economic downturn hitting men harder than women _ 9.8 versus 7.5 percent unemployment _ and men comprising most noncustodial parents, many dads are finding themselves struggling to make child support payments that were based on incomes they no longer earn. In a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers earlier this year, 39 percent of the members reported an incr

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