The court doesn’t just order parents to pay any amount for child support during a divorce; instead, the judge looks at factors unique to the parents and the children in question. You can find the guidelines for computing child support in the Maryland Annotated Code, Family Law Article, §12-204. Here’s what to expect.
The court will require you to submit your recent tax returns documents, paycheck stubs or other documentation of current earnings to determine your net income when calculating child support payments. If you are unemployed or underemployed, the court will base child support on your earning capacity.
In Maryland, there are a few different types of child custody arrangements that the court can order. They include joint legal custody, joint physical custody, sole legal custody and sole physical custody. The court will use the type of arrangement you get to determine how much you or the other parent should pay. Customarily, the more time a child spends with a particular parent, the less child support that parent will be required to pay.
The number of dependents a parent has
If you have many children with the person you are separating from, you’ll pay more child support to take care of all their needs if you are the non-custodial parent. Alternatively, if you are paying child support for other children you’ve had with people other than your current spouse, the court will consider an amount that’s fair for you but still caters to your children’s needs.
Your child’s needs
Maryland courts consider medical, educational and childcare expenses when computing child support. If a child has special needs, the non-custodial parent will likely be required to pay a greater percentage to cover the costs associated with those needs.
Generally, the amount the court will order a parent to pay for child support should cover the basic things that the child needs to survive. After coming up with a reasonable amount, the non-custodial parent must pay it monthly. Failure to pay can lead to imprisonment and other harsh penalties.