Maryland law provides that both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their child. In cases where parents do not share the same household this legal obligation can be enforced through a regular monthly payment from one parent to the other. In most cases, payments are made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.
Despite the law, obtaining the support your child is legally entitled to can be an overwhelming process. The Law Offices of Corrie A. Boulay are here to expertly guide you through the child support process from start to finish. Our law office will tailor our assistance to your particular needs and circumstances. You may request a free attorney consultation to discuss your case, and how we can help. We are experts in Child Custody, Visitation and Child Support Family Law.
How is child support calculated?
Maryland uses a statutorily mandated formula (the Maryland Child Support Guidelines) to calculate child support. The most common data applied to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines include: the number of children the parents have in common; the amount of income each parent earns on a monthly basis, before deductions; the number of overnights the child is with each parent; the monthly cost of work related child care; and the monthly cost of health insurance for the child.
Once these figures are applied the Maryland Child Support Guidelines formula provides an amount to be paid to the receiving parent. Maryland courts follow the Child Support Guidelines strictly, and will only deviate from the suggested support amount in limited special circumstances.
Establishing a child support order.
Legally enforceable child support is established when an Order setting a monthly obligation amount is entered by a Maryland Circuit Court. A parent seeking child support begins the process of obtaining an Order by filing a Complaint for Child Support with the Circuit Court in the county (including Baltimore City) where his or her child lives.
If no custody or visitation Order exists then a parent seeking child support may wish to file a Complaint for Custody along with child support. The Law Offices of Corrie A. Boulay can assist you in deciding which path is most appropriate for your particular circumstances.
Modification of child support.
Child support obligations may be changed by filing a Motion to Modify Child Support. In order to obtain a modification, the parent seeking the change must be able to show that one or both parent’s circumstances have substantially changed from the time the previous Order was issued. Substantial changes may be financial in nature (including loss of employment, a large increase in monthly wages, or a large decrease in monthly wages) or may be related to custody and visitation if there has been a change in the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
A parent who intends to request a modification of child support should seek competent advise regarding his or her particular circumstances and whether a court is likely to grant a request.
Enforcing a child support order.
Once a child support Order has been issued by a Maryland Circuit Court, the paying parent must make his or her payment each month. If a monthly payment is not made, the parent receiving child support can enforce the obligation by filing a Petition for Contempt with the Circuit Court that issued the original Order.
Any unpaid support can be added as an “arrearage” payment, meaning the parent paying support will pay an additional monthly amount until all past-due support is paid in full.
Parents who regularly experience difficulty collecting their monthly child support payments may wish to seek entry of an Earnings Withholding Order. An Earnings Withholding Order results in the parent paying support having his or her monthly obligation deducted directly from his or her paycheck; the deducted amount is then paid to the receiving parent by the Child Support Enforcement Administration.
Family Law Child CustodyFrequently Asked Questions
When does child support end?
Most commonly, a child support obligation will end when a child reaches age 18. If a child is still enrolled in high school when he or she turns 18, then the support obligation will continue until the child graduates high school or turns 19, whichever is sooner.
Child support obligations may end in other limited circumstances, including when a child becomes emancipated or in the event of a child’s death.
Can I waive child support?
Maryland law provides that it is the child’s right–not the parent’s right–to receive child support. As such, Maryland does not permit a waiver of child support, even in cases where the paying parent has no contact with the child.
What if the non-custodial parent is out-of-state?
Federal law provides for states to cooperate with the collection of child support obligations through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. Our attorneys can assist you in navigating the proper channels to establish, or enforce, an out-of-state obligation.
Is child support tax deductible?
Child support is not counted as income for the receiving party, nor is it deductible by the paying party.
I’m not a biological parent, can I receive child support?
A party providing care for his or her non-biological child may be able to obtain child support from one or both natural parents. Obtaining support would require obtaining a legal guardianship or custody order for the child.
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