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How to determine child support under the Maryland Child Support Guidelines formula

The Maryland Child Support Guidelines are written into Maryland law as the principal way to determine parents’ child support obligation

As described in a previous article the Guidelines are a formula.  See, Child Support, Guidelines.  All of the factors are calculated on a monthly basis.  The factors or “inputs” to that  formula are:

  • Each Parent’s Income
  • Each Parent’s Number of Overnights With The Child(ren)
  • The Number of Children
  • Child(ren) Expenses (The amount of the expenses and who pays them)
  • Work Related Child Care
  • Health Insurance
  • Extraordinary Medical Expenses
  • Other

Step One (1): First, the incomes of both parents are added together. The total combined amount of those incomes and the ratio of those incomes to each other is also used in the following steps (2 and 3).  Example: If the total amount of the combined monthly incomes is $3,000 and father earns $2,000, then the Ratio is 2/3rds father.

Step Two (2): The total combined incomes corresponds to a child support “schedule” which is located in The Maryland Annotated Code Family Law Article Section 12-204. The the Payor pays to the Payee his/her respective percentage of the corresponding amount set forth in that schedule. Example: If the total combined income of $3000 corresponds to a basic child support obligation of $900, father will pay $600 per month (2/3rds) to mother as basic child support.

Step Three (3): Other qualified expenses are then factored into the calculation. The amount of those expenses, and who pays them, is added into the worksheet. Then the ratio determined in Step (1) is applied to those expenses. Example: If the mother pays daycare in the amount of $300 per month father owes her 2/3rds or $200 per month.

Thus in the foregoing example the father earns a gross pay of two thousand dollars ($2000) per month and pays to the mother eight hundred dollars ($800) per month.

CHILD CUSTODY: How Lawyers and Judges Determine Custody in Frederick, Maryland

Child Support: In Custody Cases Judges Order Payment of Child Support To The Custodial Parent.

Maryland Child Support Guidelines: The Way Lawyers and Judges Calculate Child Support In Frederick Maryland

When lawyers and judges in Frederick, Maryland endeavor to determine an appropriate amount of child support, they employ the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Application of these Maryland Child Support Guidelines carries “a rebuttable presumption of correctness.” In other words, that means the guidelines set forth in the Maryland Code must be used to determine the appropriate amount of child support except in very, very, few circumstances.

Frederick Maryland divorce and custody lawyers will universally tell you that child support between divorced or separated parents is “computed” using the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Those guidelines are set forth in the Maryland Annotated Code, Family Law Article Sections 12-101 through 12-204. By calling it a “calculation” the implication for laypersons is that child support is just: plug and play. It is not. The child support guidelines merely describe and define a formula.

Like any other formula, what you plug in determines what conclusion comes out. Just like taxes, reasonable minds may disagree upon what are “qualified” versus “unqualified” figures and the amounts thereof. Also like taxes, some people strain the boundaries of fairness and abuse the system.

Child support is calculated on a computer generated or hand written “worksheet.” The top ⅓ of the worksheet calculates the Basic Child Support Obligation and then the balance of the boxes on the ledger are used to determine the Total Child Support Obligation. Hence “above the line” factors determine the Basic Child Support Obligation and “below the line” factors determine the final or Total Child Support Obligation.

The primary Basic Child Support Obligation input factors are: (1) incomes for each parent, (2) number of children, and (3) the number of respective overnights with each parent. As mentioned above, these are referred to as “above the line” factors. They are known as “above the line factors” because they are the factors which determine a parent’s “Basic Child Support Obligation.”

After that Basic Child Support Obligation is determined, along with each parent’s proportion of the combined incomes, the “below the line” factors come into play. Those include: (1) work related child(ren) care, (2) health insurance for the child(ren), (3) extraordinary medical expenses of the child(ren), and (4) additional qualified expenses. When the Basic Child Support Obligation is added to the below the line expenses that figure constitutes the Total Child Support Obligation.

There was a case where the mother lived in Frederick, and the Father lived in Buckeystown. He earned $6000 per month and she earned $3000 per month, the combined income being $9000 per month. They had one child who resided with father. The schedule indicated that the corresponding support number was $1500 per month. In light of that the mother paid to father $500 per month and she was responsible for ⅓ of the medical expenses and the daycare in Frederick.

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