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How Does Child Support in Annapolis Work?

How Does Child Support in Annapolis Work?

patrickcrawford | January 31, 2023

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.

What is Child Support?

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.

 

What Factors Determine a Child 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:

  • Each parent’s actual monthly income*;
  • Each parent’s adjusted actual income*;
  • The number of children;
  • The cost of health insurance for the child(ren);
  • Current child support being paid for another child or other children;
  • Alimony being paid;
  • Alimony being received;
  • The cost of daycare;
  • The cost of extraordinary medical expenses for the child(ren);
  • Private school tuition; and 
  • The cost of transportation

*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. 

 

Are There Exceptions to the Child Support Calculations?

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. 

How Does Child Support in Annapolis Work?

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. 

 

Can I Request a Support Modification?

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.

 

Is an Unemployed Parent Required to Pay Child Support?

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:

  • The parent’s age, physical, and mental health;
  • The parent’s employable skills, job qualifications, education, and any special training;
  • Employment opportunities;
  • Employment history;
  • The parent’s assets;
  • Literacy;
  • Residence;
  • The parent’s actual income from all sources of revenue; and
  • Any other factor that impacts the parent’s ability to make support payments.

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.

 

Can the Court Decline to Issue a Child Support Order?

A judge may decline a request for a child support order if:

  • The parent who would be obligated to pay support lives with and is already providing for the child; OR
  • If the parent is unemployed with no means to pay child support AND meets one of the following criteria:
    • Is incarcerated,
    • Is in a psychiatric facility or other institution and is expected to remain there for the amount of time in which they would be required to support the child,
    • Is totally and permanently disabled and unable to work, OR
    • Cannot acquire or maintain work due to criminal detainment, hospitalization, or being in a rehabilitation treatment plan.

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.

How Can Patrick Help You?

Tell him about your legal issue and he will get back to you promptly.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Patrick Crawford, who has more than 16 years of legal experience practicing family law.