In Maryland, just as everywhere else, parents have a legal duty to financially support their children until they reach adulthood. This explains why child support is a crucial component of the divorce settlement.
How, exactly, is child support determined? Generally, the court will take the following into account when determining the amount:
The child’s specific needs
Depending on the child’s age, child support may include things like daycare or after-school care while the parent with physical custody is working. Depending on the child’s health, there may be unusual medical expenses – in addition to health insurance payments – that need to be factored into the support.
Each parent’s ability to provide
This refers to each parent’s income. What are each parent’s sources of income? What obligations do they have besides child support? Do they have any other active child support orders? Ideally, the court will never set a child support amount that the obligor cannot afford.
The parenting time allocations
Parenting time also plays an important role in setting the child support amount. Simply put, if the obligor parent is spending a considerable amount of time with the child, then the court may deviate from the child support guidelines to ensure that they do not make double payments.
Protecting your child’s best interests
Child support can be a contentious issue when parents disagree about a child’s actual needs or their ability to provide a certain level of support. Learning how Maryland child support laws work can help you advance your best interests when litigating the subject of child support.