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In Maryland, ensuring the well-being of a child involves considering child support as a critical aspect. Many parents wonder if they can receive child support even if they never married the other parent.

Understanding the steps involved and the factors that influence child support decisions is helpful in knowing which steps to take.

Establishing paternity

The first step in obtaining child support for unmarried parents is to establish paternity. In Maryland, the mother has sole legal custody until someone establishes paternity if a child is born to unmarried parents. Both parents can confirm paternity voluntarily by signing an Affidavit of Parentage, or a court order can determine it if a dispute exists.

Establishing paternity is essential, as it legally recognizes the father as the child’s parent and ensures the child has access to financial support and other benefits, such as health insurance and inheritance rights. Once someone establishes paternity, the father has the right to seek custody or visitation.

Calculating child support

The Child Support Guidelines in Maryland help calculate child support amounts. These guidelines consider both parents’ incomes, the number of children involved, the cost of health insurance and childcare, and other factors. The guidelines aim to ensure the child receives the same level of financial support as if the parents lived together.

Providing adequate financial support from both parents is vital for the well-being and development of a child. When parents understand the process and work together, they can create the best possible environment for their child, regardless of their marital status.