Child Support Obligations in Maryland
Child support becomes a central topic for any divorce involving children and can be challenging to determine correctly. Maryland law states that children have the right to financial support from both of their parents. Whether your divorce is uncontested or contested, both parents have a financial responsibility to support their children and act in a child’s best interest. Due to the complex legal nature of the child support laws, it is always wise to consult an experienced family law attorney, who can ensure your parental rights are protected and your children receive the appropriate amount of financial support.
Child Support Guidelines in Maryland
Child support obligations are determined in Md. Code Ann., Family Law §12-201 to 12-204.
Child support services in Maryland are handled by a division called the Maryland Department of Human Services – Child Support Administration (CSA). Maryland uses a formula called the Maryland Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support.
A determination of child support in Maryland is made by looking at several financial factors of both parents including the following:
- Actual monthly income (before taxes)
- Adjusted actual income (adjusting for alimony paid or other child support orders)
- Childcare expenses
- Health insurance expenses
- Extraordinary medical expenses
- Number of chidren
- Amount of overnights the children will spend with each parent
Ultimately, the most important factors in determining the amount of child support to be paid are the incomes of both parents and the amount of overnights the children spend with each parent. If one parent is unemployed, the court has made a determination in the past to base their calculations on the parent’s income earning potential and impute that parent with income. Additionally, child support in Maryland is to continue until 18 years old (or 19 years old if the child is still in high school.) There is no obligation in Maryland to pay support or assist financially for a child who is over 18 and attending college.
Child Support Administration Functions
Additionally, the CSA of Maryland can be used to determine the following:
- Legal paternity
- Location of parents
- Court orders for child support and health insurance
- Collecting child support payments
- Enforcing child support payments
- Adjusting court-ordered child support payments after a review
A parent cannot refuse to support his/her child. Maryland law is clear that the law and policies of the state are to promote the child’s best interest. Both parents have a legal obligation to provide support to the child financially, in proportion to their income. The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Program (CSEP) has the power to garnish wages, withhold tax refunds, contact the credit bureau to damage credit, and even suspend a driver’s license or a professional license if a parent does not pay the child support he/she owes.
Let Us Help You Today
Child support calculations are complicated, and agreeing to an order of the court regarding your finances for years to come is an important decision. Hiring an attorney regarding your divorce and/or complex issues that pertain to child support calculations can ensure that your legal rights are protected. The Prince Frederick child support attorneys serving southern Maryland at Meng Law are experienced in family law and will give you the best possible advice regarding your unique circumstance and case. Please contact one of our attorneys today at 410-535-5500 or online.