Child Support Lawyers in Baltimore Helping Fathers Get a Fair Child Support Arrangement
If you live in Germantown, Gaithersburg, or anywhere in Maryland and have children and are separated or divorced, chances are you are paying or receiving child support.
Child support guidelines were simplified by statute years ago. Child support is determined pursuant to a formula. The parents’ incomes are added together to determine the “total combined income.” The child support statute includes a schedule. The schedule is a series of columns. The first column is the combined income. The remaining columns are for the number of children that the parents have in common. In each column, there is a dollar amount. The dollar amount represents the total amount of child support that the child is entitled to.
The total amount of child support is then shared by the parents in proportion to their respective incomes. If the parents share physical custody, then an additional reduction is taken from the parent who is paying child support. At the bottom of this page is the chart containing the “total combined income” and the number of children.
Importantly, child support is considered the right of the child. Neither parent has the right to bargain away the support that is due and owing for the child.
Technically, the only way to reduce the amount of child support that a parent pays is to have the children in their care for more time. Time is calculated by the number of overnights each parent has with the children. Theoretically, it does not matter if one parent has the children from after school, does homework, gives them dinner, then the other parent comes and picks the children up to merely sleep in that house. The parent with whom the children sleep is credited with the entire day.
What Information Does the Court Need to Calculate Child Support?
Income and the percentage of overnights with each parent are the primary considerations in determining a child support award. Some other fees and expenses are also included:
- The actual income of the parents includes salary, bonuses, security benefits, compensation benefits, alimony, and other incomes. Income does not include temporary cash assistance, food stamps, supplemental security income, and other benefits from public assistance programs.
- The adjusted income of each parent is calculated by subtracting any pre-existing child support or alimony paid by the parent from the actual income.
- Expenses relating to the daycare or aftercare of the child when the parent is at work are included in the child support calculation and are shared in proportion to each parent’s income. So if you earn double what your spouse earns, then you will pay double the amount of the daycare. For example, if daycare is $300 per month, you would pay double what the other parent would pay. You would pay $200 of the daycare expense, and the other parent would pay $100.
- Expenses relating to health insurance are also shared in proportion to income.
- Extraordinary medical expenses that exceed $100 and are not covered by insurance like dental treatment, asthma treatment, orthodontics, physical therapy, or psychological counseling are also shared in proportion to income.
Can You Modify an Existing Child Support Order?
Child support can be modified after it has been established. Modification of child support is appropriate when there has been a material change in circumstances that would have a meaningful effect on the child support obligation. Reasons for modification of child support often include termination of daycare expenses, the presence of extraordinary expenses, and changes in income.
At our office, when we are asked about modification of child support, we try our best to avoid court. We ask the parents to engage in a voluntary exchange of income information, and we calculate the new child support obligation. If everyone cooperates, all that is necessary is the filing of a joint motion asking the court to modify child support and a Consent Order that contains the child support modification. Guidelines are attached to the motion and order. The court may not require the parties to appear.
If you believe that your child support obligation should be modified, give us a call at 301-515-1190 or contact us online.
How Can a Child Support Attorney Help Me?
While in any child custody case, it’s advised that you enlist the help of an experienced child support lawyer, in some instances, hiring an attorney becomes pivotal. If you’re dealing with any child support matters, visit our firm’s website today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how to proceed with your case. Paré & Associates, LLC is here to help you get the advice you need to plan for your family’s future. We can help you figure it out.