Since 1990, Maryland courts have been required to use Child Support Guidelines in all cases involving children. These guidelines suggest a certain amount that should be paid to meet the cost of raising the children of the divorced parents. Let's explore these factors:
- Both parents' actual monthly income
To determine how much child support should be paid, the court must first evaluate each parent's monthly income. This includes wages, investment income, self-employment earnings, disability payments, commissions, and any other type of pre-tax income whether earned or not. If you are self-employed, you may want to study Form DR 30 (Financial Statement) to know what to include when determining your gross monthly income.
- Both parents' adjusted income
There are certain expenses that can significantly affect your actual monthly income, and these must be factored in when calculating child support. They include:
- Whether either of you is involved in another case that requires paying for child support and/or alimony
- Whether either of you receive any alimony
- Whether either of you is directly paying for work-related child care expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, or health insurance premiums.
- Whether there are any special education or transportation costs either approved by the court or agreed upon by both parents.
It is particularly important to provide full disclosure when it comes to calculating your net income. Indeed, the court can make further adjustments to include potential income based on your education, experience, and job opportunities if it believes that you are choosing not to work or are willingly working at a lower-paying job than you are qualified for.
In general, child support is given to the parent who has primary physical custody of the children (aka the custodial parent). The non-custodial parent is required to pay a certain percentage of the total child support amount, which can vary depending on the parents' income and whether they share physical custody of the kids. According to the Maryland child care guidelines, both parents in a shared parenting arrangement must provide full-time residence for the child for at least 35% of the year.
There may be other factors to consider before determining the full child support amount. For any assistance or legal advice on calculating child support and other family law matters, the Tyra Law Firm is here for you. Contact us anytime at (301) 315-0811.