Practice Areas: Child Support
In Maryland, both parents have an obligation to support a minor child. This obligation continues until the child turns 18 years old, but if the child is still enrolled in High School the support obligation can continue until the child turns 19 years old.
The amount of child support is normally determined by using the calculation method, worksheets, and charts set forth in the Child Support Guidelines. Even though providing some structure to how support is calculated, actually using the worksheets and Child Support Guidelines can be involved. A complete and detailed analysis is not intended in this article, but rather just a general overview.
The goal is to calculate the Total Child Support Obligation, which is then allocated between the parents. The first step involves using the correct worksheet, since there are different worksheets for Sole Custody or Shared Physical Custody (there is a specific definition of Shared Physical Custody which can differ from physical custody in a custody order). Determination is needed of the proper income amount for each parent to put onto this proper worksheet, then taking into consideration certain adjustments to obtain the combined Monthly Adjusted Actual Income of both parents, as well as the Percentage Share of Income for each parent. The Basic Child Support Obligation is found on the Child Support Guidelines based on the combined Monthly Adjusted Actual Income of both parents, then certain adjustments may be needed to finally get the Total Child Support Obligation. The percentages determined under the Percentage Share of Income for each parent are then applied to the Total Child Support Obligation. Whichever parent the child is not living with then pays to the parent the child is living with the amount determined using the proper worksheet. Frequently, this payment is made by a withholding order having the child support taken from the paying parent's wages and paid over to the parent the child is living with.
Even though providing some structure and regularity to how child support is calculated, how well the worksheet and Guidelines work in practice depends in large measure on the validity of the information which is being used to complete the worksheet. If the data used is not correct, then the result will be flawed even if the correct worksheet is used and the calculations are mathematically correct. This can happen if the stated income of one or both parents is not the correct amount, or if certain of the expenses used in the adjustments is not correct. This can also happen if certain allowable adjustments (such as for other preexisting child support obligations or alimony) are not properly factored into the worksheet.
It can be quite confusing and complicated. Do you know the law? Do you know how the law applies to the facts of your case? Do you know the procedures you would have to follow, such as what papers to file and the rules of evidence, so that even after you get in front of the Judge you are able to show why you should get what you should get? Shouldn't you find out? Shouldn't you have someone to protect your rights and interests? Only an attorney can do so for you.
Since 1986, Donald J. Arnold has been successfully representing individuals concerning child support. Mr Arnold is authorized to practice law in all state and federal trial and appeals courts covering Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, with honors, 1986, and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that same year, having passed the Bar Exam on the first attempt. He was admitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals (Fourth Circuit) in 1991, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993.
For more information or an appointment call (410) 838-2542 or toll free outside Harford County 1-888-808-0449. Mr Arnold prefers initial potential client contact to be by telephone or appointment in person, with use of e-mail being reserved for existing clients after an appropriate attorney-client relationship has been formally established.
Legalese translated into real people talk.