How is child support calculated in a Maryland divorce?

When couples file for divorce, they may be ordered to pay child support as a way to minimize the financial changes children may face.

When parents file for divorce or custody in Maryland, it is important to take into consideration the needs of the children who are also impacted by the divorce. Not only are children often forced to deal with the trauma of having their parents separate and move into different homes, but they may have to undergo other changes that could have a dramatic effect on their lives. Child support is designed to help maintain the standard of living they would enjoy if their parents resided in the same home.

A child support model

Maryland follows an income shares model when calculating the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent will be obligated to pay. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the income shares model follows the idea that children should have access to the same finances that were available to them when the family was together. This means that the income of both parents is used when determining the child support amount.

Determining parental income

Since each parent's gross income is used in the basic child support calculation, it is crucial that each parent discloses an accurate income amount. In some cases, this amount may involve more than just a weekly paycheck. Other factors, such as whether either parent has other court-ordered alimony or child support payments, may be considered and can affect the income amount.

Calculating child support

Once the parents' combined income is determined, the guidelines also provide for a deduction or credit for:

  • Childcare expenses
  • Any special needs the child may have
  • Health insurance premiums, deductibles, and extraordinary medical expenses
  • Agreed upon Educational expenses
  • Costs in transporting the children from one parent's home to the other, if the distance is substantial

In addition, the court will look at the parenting schedule, and how much time the child spends with each parent. If the child spends 128 or more overnights with the non-custodial parent, the court will calculate child support using the shared guidelines.

Looking out for your child's needs

If you have thought about filing for divorce in Maryland, you may want to speak to a family attorney regarding your legal rights. Both parents have an obligation to financially support their children, and a lawyer may be helpful in ensuring that your children receive the money that they are entitled to. Having an attorney may give you the assurance you need to survive your divorce.