MARYLAND CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES
In Maryland when considering how to calculate child support the Court looks at the income of both parents. The idea behind this, is that children should be entitled to the same income they would receive had the parents lived together. In order to establish or modify child support the court will use The Maryland Child Support Guidelines.[i] If the adjusted actual income of both parents falls between the amounts listed, the Court looks at the higher amount.[ii] However, if the adjusted actual income exceeds $15,000, it is within the Court’s discretion to determine the basic child support obligation[iii]. Once this amount is determined the obligor parent can be ordered to pay the obligee parent the amount listed in the guidelines. Listed below are key terms involved in the child support determination:
Basic Child Support Obligation[iv] = Is the base amount due for child support based on the parents’ total combined adjusted gross income.
Adjusted Gross Income[v] = actual income minus child support obligations actually paid and other
alimony or maintenance obligations actually paid.
Obligor parent[vi] = the parent to pay child support.
Obligee parent[vii] = the parent entitled to receive child support.
Two examples of how a Court can determine a child support calculation:
Example #1: Parent A and Parent B have two children.
Parent A has an adjusted gross income of $2,500 and Parent B has an adjusted gross income of $3,000. As such, the total combined adjusted gross income of both parents is $5,500. Per the guidelines, the obligor parent can be ordered to pay the obligee parent $1,319 per month.
Example #2 Parent A and Parent B have 1 child.
Parent A has an adjusted gross income of $4,520 and Parent B has an adjusted gross income of $9,345. The total combined adjusted gross income of both parents is $13,865. This puts them between the listed amount in the guidelines (The parents are between $13,850 and $13,900). When parties fall between two amounts, the Court will look at the next higher amount to determine the child support obligation. This means that with one child in common and an adjusted gross income of $13,900, the obligor parent can be ordered to pay the obligee parent $1,800 per month.
Although the child support guidelines provide a more consistent approach to child support obligations there are several other factors the Court can consider when making a final determination. Some of these factors include child care expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, educational expenses, and voluntarily impoverishment. Consulting an attorney can be helpful to a parent navigating this process.
Jessica A. Hurtado, Esq. is a Family Law Attorney at The Law Office of Miguel Palmeiro, LLC.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. The reader, clients or otherwise, shall not act on the basis of any content without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice. The content of this article contains general information ONLY. Contact the Law Office of Miguel Palmeiro for a free consultation, today! 301-363-2191
[i] Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §12-204(a)(1).
[ii] Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §12-204(c).
[iii] Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §12-204(d).
[iv] Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §12-201(e).
[v] Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §12-201(c).
[vi] Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §12-201(j).
[vii] Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §12-201(i).