As some Maryland parents get ready to pay child support, they might be worried about the amount of support that will be taken from their paycheck and how this can affect their standard of living. While it is every parent’s responsibility to cover the costs of their child’s needs, there is also concern about how they might cover their own needs.
The purpose of child support
Child support, as with all decisions made related to child custody, is awarded to protect the child’s best interests. Even when a parent chooses to not have a relationship with their child, they are still responsible for paying child support. This financial support is meant to cover a variety of their child’s needs and other costs related to child-rearing, even if indirectly, including those related to:
• Where the child lives
• What that child eats
• How the child is transported
• how the child is educated
What is the limit of how much support can be withheld from a parent’s paycheck?
According to the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act, there are limitations on the amount that can be withheld from a person’s paycheck for child support. Only 50% of a parent’s disposable income can be withheld to pay child support if they have another family to support. However, that amount can increase to 60% if they do not have another family to support. In both cases, the amount might be increased 5% more if the parent is 12 weeks or more behind in support payments. Nonetheless, current child support payments will always take precedence over those in arrears.
The parent who receives the child support does not have to tell the paying parent how the money is used. While there are general guidelines of what support covers, courts do allow the parent who receives the payment some discretion on how to use the money.