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While parties will contend with property division and spousal support as part of a Maryland divorce case, one of the most important issues is care and support for minor children. Parents always have these responsibilities regardless of whether their relationship is over or going strong, and Maryland’s statute on basic child support obligations is strict on the requirements. However, even when you understand the duties of a payor and rights of the recipient, the details and legal process can be complicated.
Therefore, you should rely on a Maryland divorce attorney to explain the laws and guide you through child support proceedings. To get some clarity on some of the basic issues, some information on four key child support laws may be helpful.
A court may issue an order for temporary child support.
Parents typically choose to live separately after filing for divorce, so children will be primarily residing with one or the other. A divorce case can take several years, or even months, during which time both parents share financial responsibility for their children. The residential parent is entitled to support, since he or she will be taking on the majority of the child’s expenses.
The starting off point for Maryland child support guidelines is parental incomes.
State statutes operate according to an income-sharing approach for child support. The incomes of each parent are combined, and the number of children to be supported is another initial factor. The total amount of support is based upon the percentage of income attributable to each parent. The funds are intended to cover:
- Food and personal needs;
- Housing, including utilities;
- Medical care and health insurance;
- Educational expenses; and,
- Other basic needs of the child.
A divorce court can use discretion to determine child support obligations in Maryland.
In some cases, a judge may deviate from the statutory guidelines to determine child support. Many other divorce matters are closely tied to the issues related to minor children, such as when the parent with residential custody lives in the family home after divorce. Out of fairness, a court may depart from the guidelines.
Child support can be modified under Maryland law.
Once a court enters a child support order, it is legally binding and enforceable. Still, you do have options for modifying when hit by a change in circumstances. When the paying parent is unable to forward funds, perhaps due to a job loss or layoffs, it is critical to work out a modification rather than not pay child support.
Our Baltimore County, MD Divorce Lawyers Can Explain Child Support Details
As you can see from these basic points, child support laws in Maryland can be more complex than you expect. You put your rights and financial interests at risk if you attempt to represent yourself. You can trust a knowledgeable attorney to protect your interests. To learn more about our legal services in the area of child support, please contact attorney William F. Mulroney to set up a consultation. We can set up a consultation to assess your circumstances and determine how to proceed.