What are the basics regarding child support and what do I need to know?

Maryland Child Guidelines are considered mandatory in every domestic dispute that involves children.  The Guidelines factor in a number of numbers to ultimately determine a child support obligation.  It is imperative that you are aware of common numbers that are necessary to make accurate child support calculations.  I cannot stress enough the need for accuracy in determining child support.  For example, if your child support if off by a mere few hundred dollars, and assuming you are required to pay for a period of 18 years, this miscalculation could cost you in excess of $43,000!

The figures that are needed (this is not an all-inclusive list, but a list of commonly needed items):

  1. All income – Maryland will review and include all forms of income. This includes all wages, passive income, military benefits, bonuses, overtime wages, etc.. This is not all-inclusive, but a common starting point
  2. Any prior existing child support court orders
  3. Any alimony payments made directly to the mother of the minor child at issue
  4. Any social security benefits that either parent might be receiving either for themselves or the child.
  5. Work-related daycare
  6. Monthly health insurance costs for the child
  7. Any extradordinay medical expenses for the child
  8. Private school costs

Generally, these figures are not needed in a child support assessment:

  1. Your expenses, including housing, car, or essentials

The stark truth regarding child support is that your income will be based on your GROSS income, not adjusted gross income.  Therefore, if you earn 65,000 a year, your guidelines will be based on 5416 per month.  This can be difficult for many citizens to swallow as we all pay taxes and do not actually “take home” the gross figure.

Without getting into the argument whether the legislature made a mistake about establishing guidelines in this fashion, the essential thought must how to ensure the most accurate figure.

What some lawyers fail to recognize is the guidelines have a small provision which gives Maryland citizens a possible manner to argue against the mandatory application of the guidelines.  The statute allows the lawyer to argue and present a case that permits a deviation (reduction) of child support based upon the notion of fairness.  Moreover, for those who run their own business, there is a provision that allows ordinary expenses associated with the business to reduce your gross income.  Lastly, for household incomes that exceed a combined 15,000 in income collectively, the application of the guidelines becomes discretionary!

Our firm has handled thousands of child support matters and is intimately familiar with all of the codes and case law which ensures that your child support will be accurate.

Give us a call to discuss further.