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Maryland Statewide Child Support Increase
The Tax Free Child Support Stimulus

Early History Of Child Support

The responsibility of Maryland parents to pay child support goes back to the Constitutional adoption of English Common Law in 1776. In those days fathers were usually granted custody because the children were a kind of property. That’s why a husband’s name was upon each of the children even after divorce but in contrast, the wife in those days was barred from keeping the husband’s name.

With our Constitutional adoption of English “Common law” came the whole bailiwick of English policies on divorce and child support. It also came with such out of fashion ideas as permitting a husband to beat his wife and children, so long as the stick was no wider than his thumb (hence “Rule of Thumb”). But hey, we were building a country here and the child support groundwork was laid. So let’s go to the 1920’s through 1989.

Child Support Before October 1, 2010

In 1920 the Maryland Legislature adopted a law that said the Courts could order a parent to pay child support even if the parties had never been married. Bare in mind children born out of wedlock were previously referred to with a very unflattering term and had no rights. In 1951 the Courts determined that support was a joint obligation no matter which parent got the children. The Courts also mandated that a party entitled to child support could get the award retroactively from the date of the filing, not just from the hearing date forward. (A rule that remains true even today)

In 1990 the Maryland legislature decided to take the guesswork out of child support and finally gave us all the “Maryland Child Support Guidelines.” Keep in mind these are the MARYLAND guidelines. Some states compute child support “per capita” by the head count of the subject children and some by a raw computation of the payer’s income e.g. Fifteen percent for one child, twenty five percent for two and so on…

In contrast to the above, the Maryland Guidelines approach follows the principle of an “Income Shares Model.” The Income Shares Model is a warm fuzzy ideal that takes the separate parents’ incomes and puts them together to construct the income of an artificially intact household. Then a minimum amount that this artificial household should spend on the children, at each respective level of income, is pulled from a list or “schedule” this is called the “basic support amount.” The percentage that the non-custodial parent brings into the artificial household total is multiplied against the basic support amount and (shazam) child support.

Let me illustrate: If a Father and Mother each make $1,500 per month for a total income of $3000 to the artificial household the amount from the schedule might be $300 per month for a single child. In such an example the non-custodial parent would pay to the other parent $150 representing ½ of the $300 basic child support amount taken from the schedule. If the non-custodial parent’s income were $2000 per month and the custodial parent $1,000 per month, the non-custodial parent would pay $200 representing 2/3rds of the basic child support amount of $300 taken from the schedule.

Generally, that is the way it is all figured out. Other various debits and credits can apply so contact a lawyer. Nevertheless, the schedule or base figure remained the same for two decades without an increase or change. NOT ANYMORE!

The Child Support Stimulus

As of October 1, 2010 Maryland has NEW child support Guidelines. These new guidelines don’t change the way that child support is computed, they change that base figure from the list or “schedule.” Like it or not, it’s giving payee parents a raise. The guidelines are higher in each respective income level. This represents a TAX FREE raise of $2,316 per year for the average Frederick County Household before adjustments! Whether you pay or receive child support, get a free consultation with someone who knows about these changes and how they can effect you.