The parent paying child support will pay the other parent directly or through the office of child support enforcement and no one is monitoring how that money gets spent. Some people think this is unfair, and I understand that feeling, but that is just how it is.
Child support calculations in Maryland are based on the parties’ incomes and some key expenses. The legislature has developed the Maryland Child Support Guidelines, which is essentially a formula for determining child support. The state legislature has determined that a minor child is entitled to a percentage of the parents’ combined income for their support. The calculator combines the incomes and certain expenses, then allocates the total child support amount.
For example, let’s say two parents collectively earn $80,000 a year, Dad earns 50,000 and Mom earns 30,000. and the calculation determines (for example sake only) the child is entitled to $12,000 a year in child support. That child is entitled to $12,000 a year from both parents. Dad would be responsible for 62.5% and Mom for 37.5% of that support based on their incomes. If Dad is the custodial parent then the law presumes that he’s paying his part by paying the day to day bills and expenses of the home, the custodial parent does not write a check for their percentage of the support instead, the non-custodial, Mom in this example, pays their percentage (37.5%) to the custodial parent in the form of child support. In this example it would be $390.00 per month.
Specific expenses also get figured into the child support guidelines and will change that monthly number, but the major factor is your income. If either party is paying alimony, that will be considered; getting added to the recipient’s income or subtracted from the payer’s income. Childcare costs get divided in proportion to the parties’ incomes. The same is true for health insurance, if either party is paying health insurance, that cost is allocated in proportion to the parties’ incomes.
There are a couple of other expenses that can be considered in some circumstances, such as private school tuition or extraordinary medical expenses. Those are not typical but can occur. The child support calculator also considers the number of overnights that the child is with each parent, making adjustments according to the physical custody schedule. Once the number of overnights for the parent with less time goes over 92, the child support amount changes with each additional overnight.
There are online calculators available, such as a tool from social services, but they don’t tend to be accurate. Your family law attorney will have the same calculator the court is using that will be more reliable for figuring out what a child support order is going to be.
For more information on Divorce Law in Maryland, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (443) 300-2335 today.