Child support, like alimony, may become one of the main reasons parties will argue in a Maryland family law case. There is a good reason for this. On the one hand, we have parents who want to pay a fair amount of child support, but do not want the other party (the custodial parent) to take advantage of them. On other other hand, we have some parents who want nothing to do with the child, or simply do not want to pay any child support. It should be noted that even if a parent has nothing to do with his or her child, that does not relieve that parent of the responsibility of having to pay child support absent a termination of parental rights.
The Maryland Code of Law gives the judge discretion to fashion a child support order distinct from the amount of alimony. In fact, case law dictates that the child support award should be entirely different from any amount of alimony paid to one spouse.
What factors are used to calculate child support in Maryland?
In the state of Maryland, a judge will look at a variety of factors set forth in the Code of Laws. The judge can use one or more of these factors as he or she determines what is to be in the best interests of the child and will serve justice in light of the situation. Some factors a judge will typically use are as follows:
1. The gross income of the noncustodial parent
2. The income of the custodial parent
3. The number of children born of the parties that are in need of child support
4. Reasonable child care expenses
In addition to these factors, the court will always look to what he or she deems to be in the best interests of the child or children involved in the case. One other common fact that the court will typically consider is if the noncustodial parent owes money to the parent of his or other children, as the court will not generally take money from one child to give to another. While there are calculators that can be used to make a basic determination, the actual award can be somewhat more complicated, as the facts are never the same in any two cases, so it is best to speak with an experienced Maryland child support attorney to see how things will work in your actual situation.
It should the noted that the court will use the guidelines in most cases, but if the parties can agree on what the amount child support should be, the judge will generally allow the parties to use the amount upon which they agreed, so long as it is also in the best interest of the child. If the parties are willing to work together, it is generally better to form an agreement, as it will save the parties money in the long run, and things will go a lot smoother. However, if the other parent is unwilling to be reasonable, you want to make sure your attorney will fight for the result you desire.
If you need assistance with a child support case or any other family law matter in the District of Columbia or Maryland, please contact the Law Offices of Daniel A. Gross for a consultation.