Like child custody, child support is an area of family law that can result in a great deal of heated discussions and possibly litigation. First, it should be noted that child support is not about making the other party suffer, but it is about making sure the primary custodian has access to funds necessary to properly care for the children.
For this reason, you should speak with a Friendship Heights child support attorney who has experience working on both sides of the issue. On the one hand, as the parent being asked to pay child support, you want to make sure that your child is properly cared for, but you do not want the other parent to take advantage of the situation and profit from your child support obligation. On the other hand, if you are the party seeking child support, you want to make sure that the other parent acts responsibly and helps support his or her child, which is in the best interests of everyone involved.
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How Is Child Support Calculated in Maryland?
Now that we have discussed the basics of child support in Maryland, let’s look at what factors the court would use in setting a child support award in a typical case filed in Prince George’s County. First, it should be noted that pursuant to Woodall v. Woodall, 293 A.2d 839 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1972) the amount of child support should be completely separate from the amount of alimony, if any is awarded in the case.
Pursuant to the Maryland Code of laws, the court will typically rely on one or more of the following factors in determining how to set a child support award:
- The number of minor children involved in the child support case.
- The number of overnight visits the non-custodial parent has been awarded with the children.
- The total gross income of the parent from whom child support is requested.
- Cost of childcare expenses to be paid by the non-custodial parent, including health insurance premiums.
- Total income of the parent with primary custody of the child or children.
- Childcare expense obligations of the parent awarded custody.
There are other factors that go into calculating a number using the Maryland child support guidelines, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that, while guidelines might seem inflexible, the court is not required to use the child support guidelines when fashioning a child support award. If the parties can agree to a child support amount, the judge can use the agreed upon amount to set a child support award, so long as the judge believes the agreement to in the child’s best interest, which is the ultimate standard in any domestic relations cases involving children in the state of Maryland. However, as long as the agreement is reasonable to the parties, the court will most likely adhere to the parties’ wishes and sign an order reflecting the agreed upon amount of child support.
Our Friendship Heights family law attorneys have over 40 years of experience handling domestic relations cases, including those involving child support. Contact us today!