How Does Child Support in Annapolis Work? Every child is entitled to receive financial contributions from both parents, no matter if both parents are separated, divorced, or never married to each other.
If you are dealing with a child support issue, whether you are receiving or giving financial support to a minor, you need an experienced attorney to handle your case. To help alleviate your concerns, Attorney Patrick Crawford has compiled an overview of the laws regarding child support in Annapolis, Maryland.
Child support is a monthly sum that a non-custodial parent is responsible for paying to care for the needs of a minor child. The non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent the set amount in order to cover the child’s clothing, food, shelter, and medical needs. Any custodial guardian caring for a minor child is eligible to receive financial contributions.
The amount of support a parent must pay is determined by a judge. The judge will issue a court order dictating the set monthly support amount.
Several factors are considered when determining the amount a parent must pay in child support. Maryland uses an income share model when determining child support. This calculates child support cost in relation to the income of both parents and how many children are being supported.
Maryland courts take into consideration:
*Maryland law evaluates each parent’s actual monthly income versus adjusted actual income. Actual income includes work salaries, bonuses, workers’ compensation, and alimony. Actual income does not include federal welfare programs or government assistance programs.
*On the other hand, adjusted actual income would include all sources of revenue minus child support being paid for other children.
Maryland’s Child Support Guidelines also take into account how much time the child spends with each parent. Different formulas are used based on whether the parents have shared custody or if the custodial parent retains sole custody.
A parent is considered to have shared physical custody of a child if the child spends at least 25% of the year staying overnight at the parent’s home.
The guidelines described above are used in determining child support payments in most cases. However, the Maryland legislature enacted a new law as of July 1, 2022, which altered the Child Support Guidelines.
If parents have a combined adjusted actual monthly income of more than $30,000, or $360,000 annually combined, then the court will determine payment amounts at their discretion.
Prior to July 1, 2022, the set amount was up to the court’s discretion for families that made a combined monthly income of more than $15,000.
If a family’s income exceeds the stated amount, then the court will evaluate the needs of the child in determining the support payment. In making a decision, the Court will take into account if the child has any special needs.
You may want to reduce your monthly amount if your income has decreased and/or if you have an increase in expenses. Alternatively, you may seek to increase your monthly amount if you have received an inheritance, won the lottery, or had another financial windfall.
Maryland courts require you to have a “material change in circumstances.” In 2016, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals heard Moore v. Taylor. In this case, Timothy Taylor recently lost his job as a software engineer and could no longer afford his monthly support payments. The court agreed to drastically reduce his monthly payments.
In each case, the court has to discern whether a “material change in circumstances” has taken place. A judge can deny your modification request if they feel you do not meet this standard.
If a parent is unemployed by choice, then they still have to pay child support. If a parent chooses not to work, and in doing so, does not have enough money to support themselves, this is called “voluntary impoverishment.”
If a parent claims “voluntary impoverishment,” the court will look at several factors in determining child support:
Based on all these factors, the court will compute a monthly support amount through a process called “imputing” income. This means that the Court is calculating a monthly support amount as if the parent is earning an income.
A judge may decline a request for a child support order if:
No matter your situation, an Annapolis child support lawyer will be able to guide you in providing the best possible financial support for your child.
An Annapolis Child Support Lawyer Preserving Above the Rest
Following a divorce, your head may be spinning with all the confusion surrounding child support. Between court hearings and the ever-changing laws, you may not know where to start.
Don’t worry; the Law Office of Patrick Crawford is here to fight for your child’s future. Contact Patrick today to schedule your consultation.