Child support is a legal obligation that parents have to provide for their children’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, education and health care. In Maryland, child support is calculated based on a set of guidelines that take into account various factors.
Maryland Child Support Guidelines
The Maryland Child Support Guidelines are designed to ensure that child support awards are fair and consistent across the state. The guidelines use a mathematical formula that considers the combined adjusted actual income of both parents and the percentage of time that each parent has physical custody of the children.
The formula also adjusts for any alimony payments, pre-existing child support obligations and other expenses that affect the parents’ ability to pay child support.
The guidelines provide a basic child support amount for each income level and number of children. This amount covers the basic expenses of raising a child, such as food, housing, transportation and clothing.
The guidelines also provide additional amounts for health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, work-related childcare costs and educational expenses. These amounts are added to the basic child support amount to get the total child support obligation, which is then divided between the parents based on their income.
Courts consider the Maryland Child Support Guidelines as presumptively correct in most cases. However, there are some situations where the court may deviate from the guidelines and order a different amount of child support, and parents can also agree to a different amount of child support in writing.
Maryland family law judges can find that the guidelines are unjust. Moreover, if the combined adjusted actual income of the parents is more than $15,000 per month, the court may deviate from the guidelines. The judge may also deviate if the child has special needs or extraordinary expenses that are not adequately covered by the guidelines, or if the non-custodial parent has a physical or mental disability that affects his or her ability to pay child support.
This is in addition to factoring in whether the non-custodial parent has other dependents who live with him or her and for whom he or she provides more than 50% of their support.
The judge may also factor in whether the non-custodial parent incurs travel expenses to visit the child that exceed 5% of his or her gross income, and whether the non-custodial parent pays more than 35% of his or her income in taxes.
Finally, the judge may deviate if the custodial parent’s household income is substantially higher than the non-custodial parent’s household income.