Every child in Maryland has the right to receive support from both parents, even if they are legally separated, divorced, or were never married in the first place. In the below blog post, we provide an overview of the child support laws in Maryland and what they can mean for you.  

child support laws maryland

What Is Child Support in Maryland? 

In Maryland, both parents must support their child or children based on their ability to provide that support. Child support refers to the legal obligation that requires a parent to offer financial assistance to the other parent for the well-being and care of their child. A judge will typically order this support to ensure that both parents contribute to the child’s financial needs, even if they are no longer together.  

Child support is known to cover numerous types of expenses related to raising a child, including the following: 

  • Childcare costs 
  • Health insurance  
  • Educational costs 
  • Medical costs 
  • Travel expenses 

Child Support Guidelines

Maryland has had child support guidelines since 1990. These guidelines provide families with a formula for calculating child support based on a proportion of each parent’s gross monthly income. These child support guidelines will usually apply unless the parties’ combined income exceeds $180,000, and a party can demonstrate that the application of these guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust under the circumstances. 

When Do Courts Get Involved With Child Support?

Courts will usually become involved with child custody when parents stop living together or when they obtain a divorce. In these instances, the court will often have to determine how much support the non-custodial parent will need to pay. The non-custodial parent is usually the one who does not primarily reside with the children, and has less than 50% of the overnight with the children.

In addition, the court will have many options when determining the support arrangement. This is because the court’s goal is to maintain the children’s lifestyle before the divorce if the parents’ finances allow it. For instance, the court may require a parent to maintain insurance for the benefit of a child or pay for private school costs, medical bills, daycare costs, transportation expenses, and other aspects of a child’s daily activities. 

However, parents can avoid having the courts get involved if they agree to appropriate child support. If the parents are obtaining a divorce, this agreement can become part of the marital separation agreement. 

Calculating Child Support

Maryland child support guidelines use the “income shares model. This is done to ensure that children benefit from both parents’ income and that the overall support obligation is divided fairly between the parents. Under these guidelines, the court tries to estimate the percentage of income that each parent would spend on the child if the parents were still living together. 

The guidelines use the following steps to calculate child support: 

  • Determine each parent’s adjusted actual income or imputed income 
  • Add both parents’ imputed or adjusted incomes. Then, this number will be plugged into the guidelines chart to determine the basic child support obligation  
  • Other expenses may be factored in, including daycare, health insurance, and extraordinary medical expenses 
  • The non-custodial parent will then be responsible for paying a percentage of the total child support obligation 

For Further Information About Child Support in Maryland, Contact Rice Law Today  

Child custody and support is often an emotional and sensitive subject. Determining the children’s living arrangements, decision-making responsibilities, and child support is often the most contentious aspect of a divorce or custody case. At Rice Law, our experienced family law attorneys can help explain the state laws that may apply to your situation and provide effective legal representation to get you through this challenging time. 

For further information about child support laws in Maryland, contact Rice Law today. 

Blogs published by Rice Law are available for informational purposes only and are not considered legal advice on any subject matter. The reader understands that by viewing blog posts no attorney-client relationship is created between the reader and the blog publisher, Rice Law. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.