MARYLAND CHILD SUPPORT
FAMILY LAWYER IN MARYLAND
MARYLAND FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY HELPS WITH ALL LEGAL ASPECTS OF CHILD SUPPORT
Child support in Maryland is designed to ensure that every child in the state receives adequate financial support, whether the parents are legally separated, divorced, or if they never married in the first place. Support generally takes the form of payments from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. The custodial parent is defined as the parent who provides the majority of the care to the child, and this means that the parent who has been awarded a greater share of custody in divorce proceedings, will generally be the one receiving the support payments. Child support payments typically continue until the child turns 18, but may continue until the child finishes high school if they have not graduated by the time they turn 18. In some instances, the court may determine that the child requires support longer, usually in cases involving disability. Support payments can only end prior to age 18 if the child emancipates themselves, joins the military prior to turning 18, marries and leaves the custodial household, or if the parents agreed to a different time period in their marital settlement agreement. Child support should be taken very seriously and it is important to consult with a Maryland family law attorney about your legal rights.
How is Child Support Calculated?
In Maryland, Child support is calculated using the “Income Shares Model”. The model uses the income for both parents, the number of shared minor children, support being paid for other children, alimony (paid or received), the children’s health insurance and daycare costs, and any extraordinary medical expenses. In order to properly calculate the child support payments, the courts will need the following from both parents:
- Actual Monthly Income – This amount includes salary and wages, bonuses, commissions, rental income, interest, pensions, annuities, royalties, government benefits (disability, worker’s compensation, unemployment and social security). Actual income does not include temporary cash assistance, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, and others benefits from means-tested public assistance programs. The court will require you to complete and submit a financial statement under penalty of perjury to prove your income.
- Pre-existing Support – The parents’ actual monthly income is adjusted to take any pre-existing child support payments into account. Amounts that parents pay for pre-existing child support agreements are subtracted from the actual monthly income amount to determine each parents Adjusted Monthly Income.
- Work-related child care expense – Costs for daycare or before and after care while a parent is at work.
- Health insurance expenses – Costs related to payment of healthcare expenses for the child
- Extraordinary medical expenses – Reasonable expenses that are not covered by most insurance plans: orthodontia, dental treatment, asthma treatment, physical therapy or psychological counseling.
LAWS IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND
The laws in the state of Maryland create an inherent conflict of interest whereby either parent can attempt to underrepresent their income in an effort to either increase the payments they receive or decrease the payments they must make. Sadly, parents will also fight during divorce proceedings for greater custody for the purpose of adjusting the payments made / received. The end result of this activity is always worse for the children involved, and the courts have laws to ensure the end result is the best for the children. Some parents will choose to stop working altogether to avoid payments, this is called voluntary impoverishment. The laws surrounding child support give judges the ability to impute, or assign income to a parent who is attempting to avoid payments by becoming unemployed or underemployed. The opposite is also true, and a judge can reduce the calculated amount as they see fit.
Child support should be taken very seriously and it is important to be proactive about securing you and your child’s financial future. In our experience, parents will say or do just about anything to increase or decrease the child support payments they receive or pay, and it is important that you seek sound legal advice before beginning the child support process. If you are contemplating divorce, have been waiting to begin the process to receive child support payments that are rightfully yours, or are anticipating that you will be required to make payments, please contact our Maryland family law attorney today.
CONTACT FAMILY LAWYER IN MARYLAND FOR HELP
The Burton Law Firm understands how divorce can affect you and your family’s life indefinitely. Having years of experience handling all types of family law cases throughout the state of Maryland, you can trust us to handle your case with care. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak with a family law lawyer in Maryland.
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Contact our office as soon as possible so our team of Family Law attorneys can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.