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Child Support

In Maryland, both parents are responsible for the support, care, welfare, and education of their children until the child graduates high school or turns 19 years old, which ever happens first. The amount of child support each parent is responsible for paying is calculated pursuant to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Our Maryland child support attorney can help you going through this process.

In calculating child support under the Maryland Child Support Guidelines, the judge must determine each parent’s income. This includes each parent’s actual income from all sources. Or if the parent is unemployed, his or her potential income if the judge finds that the parent is voluntarily impoverished.

To determine if a parent is voluntarily impoverished, the judge will decide whether the parent has made a free and conscious choice not to work in an attempt to avoid paying child support. To make this decision, the judge will look at several factors including:

  1. The parent’s current physical condition;
  2. The parent’s educational background;
  3. The timing in any change of employment or financial circumstance;
  4. The relationship between the parents;
  5. Any and all efforts made by the unemployed parent to find and retain employment;
  6. The parent’s past work history;
  7. The status of the job market; and
  8. Whether the parent has previously withheld child support.

Once the judge has determined that a parent has voluntarily impoverished himself or herself, the judge will assign an income to that parent. In assigning an income, the judge must consider several factors including:

  1. The parent’s age;
  2. The parent’s mental and physical condition;
  3. The parent’s assets;
  4. The parent’s educational background;
  5. The parent’s prior earnings;
  6. The parent’s efforts to find employment;
  7. The status of the job market;
  8. The parent’s actual income from any source; and
  9. And any other factor bearing on the parent’s ability to obtain funds

When discussing child support, it’s also important to keep in mind that the child support calculations will be different if the parents have joint physical custody. For the purposes of child support, joint physical custody means that each parent keeps the child for more than 35% of the year (which equals at least 128 overnights per year). When the parents have joint physical custody, child support will be adjusted to reflect that the fact that both parents contribute to the expenses of the child in addition to, and over and above, the payment of child support.

Whether you are seeking to obtain a child support order, wish to have a current child support order modified, or are seeking to enforce an existing child support order and collect back payments, our Maryland child support attorneys will be able to assist you. If you have a child support or child custody issue, it is your child’s best interest to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.  

Maryland Divorce Lawyer Blog - Child Support
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