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When do child support orders deviate from the standard formula?

Like many other states, Maryland has very specific guidelines when it comes to child support payments. Both parents are tasked with the duty to financially support their child, and these guidelines ensure that a child is provided with necessities such as food, clothing and education. The guidelines also make sure that child support and alimony payments are considered separately. It is important to note, though, that there are certain instances where deviations may be made from traditional child support guidelines.

For the state's guidelines to be deviated from, it must be proven that a particular case is different. If, for instance, a parent is already providing child support or caring for other children, the state's guidelines could hinder their duty to care for these other children.

Additionally, the courts may consider several other financially related matters for potentially deviating from accepted child support guidelines. If there is a provision that a particular individual makes mortgage payments, for instance, this can be considered grounds for deviation. Handling marriage debts, college expenses and any other payments that directly benefit the children can be considered when a child support order is being decided.

There are also considerations on the extreme sides of the income spectrum. In cases involving those with incomes that exceed guidelines, the courts will consider the child's best interests when making a decision. Similarly, courts will investigate whether someone's financial status is voluntary or not if they are extremely low income.

States like to have guidelines in place that allow them to make child support orders quick and effortless. It is important to remember, however, that not all cases are the same. There are times when derivation from state guidelines is appropriate. For those who think a child support order is unfair or that a derivation is in order, finding legal help may help them reach a more positive outcome.

Source: Maryland Courts, "CHILD SUPPORT", October 30, 2014

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