In our Rockville and Frederick, Maryland Law Practice, we frequently hear questions about child support. Here are 5 things we want to be sure our clients know.
1. How is child support calculated in Maryland?
Child support computation starts with the Child Support Guidelines in the Maryland Code. The guidelines provide the court and parties with a calculation that takes into account income of the parents and child expenses. To compute the Guidelines, click HERE.
The Court may deviate from the Guidelines if the application of the Guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. The Court may consider: (1) the terms of any existing separation or property settlement agreement or court order, including any provisions for payment of mortgages or marital debts, payment of college education expenses, the terms of any use and possession order or right to occupy to the family home under an agreement, any direct payments made for the benefit of the children required by agreement or order, or any other financial considerations in an existing separation or property settlement agreement or court order; (2) the presence in the household of either parent of other children to whom that parent owes a duty of support and the expenses for whom that parent is directly contributing.
Note that the guidelines do not necessarily apply if the parents’ combined monthly income is greater than $15,000.
2. How do I apply for child support?
You can contact a private attorney to begin the process or you can apply to the State for assistance at:
Use the application on this website if you are applying for enforcement services, which include the following:
- Searching for the other parent
- Legally establishing paternity
- Establishing a court order for child support and health insurance coverage
- Collecting support payments
- Enforcing the court order
- Reviewing and modifying a court order
3. How long does child support last?
Payment should stop automatically once the child is 18, unless the child is still in high school, then it continues until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. If the obligor of the support is paying via a wage lien it may be beneficial to contact the Office of Child Support Enforcement shortly before one of these events occurs to ensure that payment is stopped.
4. What happens to child support payments after a job change or loss?
Either parent can apply to modify the amount of court ordered child support if there has been a material change in financial circumstances.
5. If a parent doesn’t pay child support, can visitation be stopped?
No. Payment of support and the right to visitation are not linked together.