Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:36

Maryland Child Support - What you need to know!

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When does child support begins?
The Maryland Court may only help you with child support from the time you actually file a request for the Court to make a finding that child support is due. The Court does not go back to the date the parties separated if no case has been filed. Prompt filing is imperative for the Court to grant retroactive support.

Who is covered?
Any Child(ren) born to the parties whether they are married or not. If their is a question about the legitimacy of a Child the Court can Order a paternity test.

I just lost my job. Will the Court go back to date I was terminated?
No, a modification of a Maryland child support order runs from the date of actual filing for a modification. If you wait two months from termination to file for a change in your child support obligation the Court can only grant you relief from the date you filed your request, not the date you were terminated.

How does Maryland determine child support?
The Maryland legislature enacted a child support statute that encompasses child support guidelines. The guidelines are more complex then in many states that simply use a percentage. Maryland takes each parent's actual gross income and then takes into consideration:

(A) preexisting child support actually paid;

(B) health insurance premiums;

(C) alimony (either paid in your current case or another case you are involved in);

(D) Work-related child care expenses (Daycare, After school, etc.;

(E) extraordinary medical expenses;

(F) additional expenses (which may include: special or private school, transportation between parents' homes)

How do I determine "Actual income"? "Actual income," consists of but not limed to:

(A) Salaries;

(B) Wages;

(C) Commissions;

(D) Bonuses;

(E) Dividend income;

(F) Pension income;

(G) Interest income;

(H) Trust income;

(I) Annuity income;

(J) Social Security benefits;

(K) Workers' compensation benefits;

(L) Unemployment insurance benefits;

(M) Disability insurance benefits;

(N) Alimony or maintenance received.

(O) Regular payments received from a relative (You parents send you money every month);

(P) Other fringe benefits from employment, i.e. automobile, cell phone, cable or internet service etc. that you might have paid for even if you did not have your current job)

What about overtime?
If you get regular overtime and not occasional overtime the Court may include this as "actual income". This is a case by case situation that need to be carefully looked at. If you get overtime once every 3 or 4 months for one hour will be looked at differently then 5 to 10 hours every week.

Will they consider private school?
If the parties had previously agreed on private schooling the Court will look at the past history and what is in the best interest of the child. However, if the parties can not afford to continue paying for private schooling the Court may decline to include the cost of private school. Again this is on a case by case basis.

What is the formula for Maryland Child Support Guidelines?
Maryland uses a table of mathematical numbers taking into account the number of children, overnights of greater then 128 nights and factors discussed in this FAQ article. Child support guidelines do not apply if the combined adjusted income in excess of $10,000.00 The Courts may, but rarely deviate from child support computations below combined incomes of $10,000.00 per month. Most Court use SASI-Calc software to determine the Maryland Child support. Http://www.sasi-calc.com

What is shared custody?
If the parties child(ren) spends in access of 128 overnights per year or 35 percent of the time with either parent the Court utilizes at separate formula recognizing more of a shared cost approach to determine Child support.

What if obligor quits his job to avoid paying Child support?
A person required to pay child support may not deliberately quit his job to avoid Child Support. This is called involuntary impoverishment. The Court can fine the non-paying parent in contempt of Court and incarcerate them. The Maryland office of Child support can ask for a tax intercept of any tax refunds, pull their right to drive in Maryland and even deny them the right to a certain travel/passport/visa rights if the arrearage reaches a certain amount thru state and federal reporting systems.

General glossary of terms used in this FAQ:

Plaintiff: The party bringing the cause of action to the court.

Defendant: The party against whom the cause of action is being brought.

Number of Children: The number of children under the age of eighteen years for whom support payments are being sought. ONLY INCLUDE MINOR CHILDREN. Indicate the number of children, their legal names, and their birth dates.

Custody Types (Shared, Sole)

Shared Custody: Shared custody is generally where one of the parents has the child(ren) more than 128 nights per year, but less than 236 nights. You can change the number of nights and the SASI-CALC will calculate the appropriate support number.

Sole Custody: Sole custody is where one has been granted primary custody of the minor child(ren) and the other party has less than 128 nights visitation.

Monthly Income: The gross amount of money earned, before taxes, including
regular over-time and part-time pay, per month. If the pay period is not a monthly pay period, press the "Calc" button adjacent to the field to pop up the monthly calculator, which will convert various common pay periods to a monthly amount.

Pre-existing child support: If child support payments are already being made by one or both parties, the amount should be entered in these fields.

Health Insurance: This is the amount that one or both of the parties pays in health insurance premiums for the child(ren). Usually it is the difference between the total monthly premium payment for a family and the total monthly premium for a single person.

Alimony Paid: Enter the amount of money that one or both parties is paying in alimony to a person from a prior marriage.

Alimony Paid In This Case: Enter the amount of money the Court has ordered that one of the parties in this cause of action pay the other in alimony.

Child Care: Enter the amount of money paid to provide daycare or similar custodial care to provide supervision of a minor child(ren). This can also include live-in care under certain circumstances. In shared custody cases insert each parties contribution. There may also be circumstances where the non-custodial parent is paying for child care and SASI-CALC will take this into consideration when entered.

Extraordinary Medical expenses: This is where the child(ren) has unusual physical, psychiatric, dental or similar extraordinary medical expenses. This should be broken down into a monthly figure.

Additional expenses: Enter monthly amount paid for a special tutoring, private instruction (i.e. dance or music lessons), private schooling, etc. Information about additional expenses should be explained in the comments field.

Recommended payment: This field displays the payment calculation performed by the SASI-CALC program. This field will display the correct payment recommendation after the calculate button is clicked on the main form. This field is not a user modifiable field.

Non-Statutory Computation
If you have entered income greater than $10,000 combined income per month the current statute does not address the required level of child support and is subject to the discretion of the court. The program has extrapolated at the same percentages of child support applied to the highest level of income covered by the statute and applied this percentage to the income in excess of $10,000.00. There are numerous alternatives for calculating child support on income in excess of the guidelines. This program has adopted one of the most commonly accepted methods. You should consider all options or variations in the light most favorable to your position.

The Information contained in this article is general in nature and not meant to substitute for qualified legal advice concerning your specific circumstance.
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