Maryland utilizes a formula known as the “Child Support Guidelines” to calculate child support payments, unless a party can prove that these guidelines would not apply to their situation. Generally, the parent with primary custody of the child is awarded custody by the court.
How Does the Court Need to Determine Child Support?
The Maryland court looks at several factors before making a child support determination.
These factors include:
- each parent's actual monthly income: this includes wages earned, but can also be Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation, and/or alimony.
- each parent's adjusted monthly income: this includes all income acquired by each parent, but excludes any child support or alimony payments they make each month.
- work-related childcare expenses: this can be things such as payments for before- or after-school childcare.
- health-related expenses: this can include monthly insurance payments or bills.
- financial statements: this must be given to the court by the party seeking child support. Failure to do so could result in refusal to grant support.
If either party is able to work, but chooses not to, the court will consider them to be voluntarily impoverished. If a party is voluntarily impoverished, it could have an adverse effect on seeking or paying child support.
How Does the Court Calculate Child Support?
To begin with, the Child Support Guidelines estimate the amount of income both parents would spend on their child if they lived together. The guidelines utilize the following when making this estimation:
- The actual and adjusted incomes of each parent.
- The addition of the combination of each parent's income into a guidelines chart. This step helps to determine the basic support obligation to the child.
- The addition of health and childcare expenses into the guidelines chart. This step determines the total amount of the child support obligation.
- The court determines the percentage of child support the non-custodial parent will pay the custodial parent based on the factors in the chart, and is still paid when there is shared custody.
Helping Parents Uphold Their Child's Best Interests
At Matthew Penick Law, our attorney has extensive experience with child support-related issues. Whether you are a parent seeking child support or a parent who might pay child support, we will effectively represent you and what is best for your child in and out of the courtroom.