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How Does Child Custody Affect Child Support Payments?

There are a lot of components to divorce, making the process of parting ways challenging. That is especially true in cases where children are involved. In addition to the division of assets and property, you must also confront the possibility of managing child custody and child support arrangements.

Divorce can be an emotionally taxing process. You may not fully realize the implications of some decisions until your divorce is finalized and you are living with the results. At The McKeon Law Firm, we want you to be informed about how a divorce can impact your life and the lives of your children, particularly when it comes to how child custody can affect child support payments.

Calculating Child Support in Maryland

Several factors can influence the amount of child support a parent can be responsible for paying. Maryland courts will generally want to look at:

  • Each parent’s actual monthly income, including wages, bonuses, workers’ compensation benefits, and alimony payments
  • Each parent’s adjusted monthly income
  • Childcare expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Health insurance expenses

The state then uses a formula to calculate a parent’s support obligation. The formula works by assigning a percentage of the total support obligation to each parent based on that parent’s income. Obtaining an accurate child support figure can be complicated. Child custody arrangements can make that calculation even more complex.

How Child Custody Impacts Child Support Payments

Generally, the parent granted primary physical custody of a child will be the parent who receives child support. This parent is called the custodial parent. The parent who does not have primary physical custody will typically be the parent responsible for paying child support. This parent is referred to as the non-custodial parent.

Physical custody only refers to where the child primarily lives. If a child lives with one parent 60 percent of the time and the other parent 40 percent of the time, the first parent would typically be the one to receive child support payments. A Maryland court would calculate the amount the non-custodial parent owes based upon each parent’s income, childcare expenses, and the number of children that need to be supported.

If both parents have shared physical custody of a child, the child support formula is modified. As of October 1, 2020, Maryland defines shared physical custody as each parent having the child overnight for at least 25 percent of the year, or 92 overnights. For couples with shared physical custody, mathematical percentage adjustments are made to the formula that determines child support payments.

In the end, it is the responsibility of the court to protect the best interests of the child. If a custodial parent earns vastly more than a non-custodial parent, the court may deem it necessary for the custodial parent to pay child support. It may be seen as being in the best interest of the child to maintain the same standard of living in both homes.

Contact an Experienced Maryland Family Law Attorney Today 

The fact that there’s a formula makes it sound like it’s easy to calculate child support payments. It is anything but simple to determine who is responsible for what following a divorce. Your income and child custody arrangements can have significant impacts on child support payments. If you have concerns about how child support is calculated, talk to an experienced Maryland family law attorney today.

At The McKeon Law Firm, we are sensitive to the fact that divorce is difficult on multiple different levels. We will work with you to evaluate your situation and handle your case in a way that strives for the best outcome possible. Get in touch online with our legal team today or call us at 301-417-9222 to schedule a confidential legal consultation.

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