Child support refers to the payments that one parent makes to another to support the couple’s child or children. Even though one parent receives these child support payments, it’s actually the right of the child for whom the payments are intended, not the parent who receives the funds.
In Maryland, parents aren’t able to just make any agreement regarding the financial support of their children. Instead, there are certain requirements set forth in the law regarding parents supporting their children according to their financial ability.
Child Support Requirements in Maryland
Maryland child support obligations are calculated according to the state’s Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines determine child support amounts using each parent’s gross income. Parents must use the guidelines if they have a combined gross monthly income of less than $15,000. If the parents’ income exceeds that maximum, the court may use its discretion to set a child support amount.
The law presumes that the child support guidelines calculate the correct amount. But when necessary, parents may present evidence to raise or lower the payments.
In addition to the parents’ incomes, the guidelines also consider:
- The number of children each parent supports
- The number of overnights each parent enjoys with the child
- Which parent bears responsibility for health insurance, dental insurance, and other medical expenses
- Which parent pays for work-related childcare
- Which parent pays for private school tuition (if applicable)
- The transportation costs for visitation borne by each parent
What Does Child Support Cover in Maryland?
Maryland child support is intended to cover the basic needs of the child, including housing, food, clothing, and medical expenses. It can be used to pay for other necessities like educational expenses, including tuition, books, supplies, and uniforms. Some parents use child support to pay for the child’s participation in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, or summer camps.
Child support normally terminates upon the child’s 18th birthday or 19th birthday if the child is still in high school unless the child is emancipated prior to those dates.
How a Lawyer Could Help
If you need to establish a child support order for your child, modify an existing order, or enforce child support obligations on behalf of your child, a family law attorney can help by:
- Discussing what child support is intended to cover and your child’s rights to support
- Explaining the effect of the child support guidelines and advising you of the guidelines amount in your family’s case
- Collecting evidence to argue in favor of deviating upward or downward from the guidelines, such as evidence of inability to pay or evidence of extraordinary necessary expenses
- Assisting you with enforcing an existing child support order
- Advocating on your and your child’s behalf for modification of a child support order
If you have questions about child support in your family’s case, call or contact an experienced Maryland family law attorney from The McKeon Law Firm today for a consultation. Discuss your child’s and your family’s legal rights and options with a trusted lawyer today.
 This threshold is set to increase to a combined gross monthly income of less than $30,000 in July 2022.