In Maryland, child support is set according to the Maryland Child
Support Guidelines. Guidelines are based on gross income, and income
includes monies received from any source. If a parent is
self-employed, then reasonable and necessary expenses related to
obtaining income can be deducted from the business income.
The cost of health insurance is deducted from the gross income of
each party. If one party or the other is receiving or paying alimony
that also is included in the calculation of income. If someone is
paying child support according to a court order for a child or
children from another relationship, that is also taken into account
in determining gross income. If a parent is the custodian of a child
of the marriage and the child is less than 24 Months the court may
not charge them with any income.
Once the gross income is determined, then calculations are
preformed to determine what percentage of income each parent is
making. For example, if the mother's gross income is $3,000 per
month and the father's income is $2,000 per month, then Mom makes
60% of the income and Dad makes 40% ($3,000 + $2,000 = $5,000;
$3,000 is 60% of $5,000; $2,000 is 40% of $5,000.)
The guidelines have tables which show that based on the total
family income a certain amount should go to support the children.
The amount increases based on how many children are in the family.
For example, using the income above for one child, the total child
support should be $670 per month. If there are three children in the
family, the total child support should be $1304 per month.
Each party's child support obligation is based on their
percentage of the total family income. Using this hypothetical, with
a $5,000 per month total income, Mom's child support obligation for
one child would be $402 per month (60% of $670). Dad's child support
obligation would be $268 per month (40% of $670).
What if the child divides his or her time between both parents
home to such a degree that he or she is in each home half the time,
or close to that? Then the child support is adjusted to reflect the
fact that both homes have higher expenses. Using the hypothetical we
have developed here, if there was a 50/50 split of time, then Mom
would owe Dad child support of $100 per month. (Remember Mom makes
more money than Dad does, so she pays a larger percentage of the
expenses even though the child is with each parent an equal amount
The guidelines also divide up, by percentage, other child related
expenses such as day care and medical expenses. If you would like to
calculate child support using your own income and expense
information, or if you want more information on child support
calculations, access the following web site: http://www.dhr.state.md.us/child/cs-guide.htm.
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Barbara R. Trader, P.A.
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