For anyone preparing to face the process of divorce, there are numerous questions and roadblocks, as well as points of confusion and stress. One of the most common questions that people have is how much child support they’ll have to pay, or conversely, how much child support they’ll be receiving. Every state uses its own protocols to determine this, as family law isn’t handled federally. When looking at the state of Maryland then, how is child support calculated?
There are numerous factors which will impact the calculation of child support, but there are two which are really the most important. The first is whether or not the two parties have shared physical custody, or whether one of the parties has sole or primary physical custody.
This isn’t a judgment call, either, it’s based on a set percentage of the year. Formerly, the state of Maryland required each party to have 128 overnights with their children in order to qualify for shared custody. This figure represented 35% of the year. The state of Maryland then moved to change and update its legislation, with the new level being 92 overnights per year. The amended legislation reduces the minimum percentage of overnights to 25% of the year.
This reduction in the overnight requirement will affect different people in different ways. Ultimately, more individuals will qualify as having shared physical custody of their children, reducing child support payments in the process, whether you would be the person paying or receiving the support.
One common sense application of this reduction is that parents who have an agreement to have their children for two nights every week, or 2/7 of the week, now qualify as having shared custody. This would equate to 104 overnight stays per year.
The second major factor impacting Maryland child support calculations is the income that each party earns. This of course largely drives the amount of money one party will need to pay the other for the care of the child. The payment of certain types of expenses also alters the calculations. There’s also a guideline in Maryland that the standard calculations are not required to be used if the two parents cross a minimum threshold for income level, in this case making more than $15,000 per month, representing combined annual salaries of $180,000.
As mentioned, child support laws, calculations and guidelines change on a state-by-state basis, and may also be updated over time. Be sure to work with an experienced local attorney in your state or region who will be able to guide you through the process and offer insight into current legislation.