When families with children separate, the non-custodial parent is likely to be ordered to pay child support based on the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are statutory and take into account the gross incomes of the parents, health insurance costs to cover the children, work-related child care costs, extraordinary medical expenses not covered by health insurance, child support paid for other children, alimony payments made, and in very limited circumstances, other expenses, such as the cost of remedial education.
Courts are permitted, but not required, to consider deviating from the statutory amount if doing so would be in the best interest of the minor children, such as if there are high costs of travel to facilitate access. When child support is initially calculated, if the non-custodial parent is not paying child support pursuant to the appropriate statutory amount, the Court may make the child support award retroactive to the date of filing the request for child support, which will likely create a substantial arrearage the non-custodial parent will be responsible for paying.
Child support is not set in stone. Life constantly changes and, to accommodate a material change in circumstances such as a different job, a change in child care, or a change in the cost of health insurance, family courts allow parents to modify their original child support order, until the child either turns 18 and graduates from high school, or turns 19, whichever occurs first.
Updates to the Child Support Guidelines
Effective October 1, 2020, the guidelines changed to expand the definition of shared custody from a minimum of 128 overnights to 92 overnights. Once the non-custodial parent reaches 92 overnights, the child support decreases commensurate with the number of overnights with the non-custodial parent. If you have your children at least 92 overnights or more, now is a very good time to consider requesting a modification of child support, because the amount could be substantially less than you are currently paying.
Discuss Your Child Support Case with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are separating and have children, child support will likely be a big issue in your case. At Matthew Penick Law, our family law attorney has the experience necessary to help you navigate the complexities of your case, so you can secure a result that is fair for you and your children.
Reach out to our law office today at (410) 618-0863 to set up an initial consultation with our skilled attorney.