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Maryland Child Support Law


Child Support law varies greatly from state to state.
The information on this web site concerns Maryland law only.


The information regarding Maryland Child Support Law on this page is general, could change at any time without Notice, and is not meant to replace legal advice.

Maryland Child Support Law was changed in a few ways on October 1, 2010.

Maryland Family Law is drawn from the sources of the Maryland Code, Maryland Court Rules, and Maryland Case Law.     Individual laws regarding Custody, Visitation, Child Support, Alimony, and Divorce cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding this could decrease the chance of achieving an outcome favorable to you in your case.


Child Support in Maryland is based on a formula, which is based on the factors of how many over-nights the child spends with each parent, the average monthly income of each parent, (or possibly how much either of them could make if either one is "voluntarily under-employing" "or voluntarily impoverishing" himself or herself), daycare expenses, medical expenses, and some other factors.


"Voluntary under-employment" and "attribution of income" are issues that are too complex to go into here.   If you these issues may be involved in your case, you should discuss this with an attorney who has had experience with these issues in Maryland Family Law courts as soon as possible.


In Maryland, "income" for determining child support is any and all income "from any source derived."   --So if you are getting income from a source in addition to your paychecks, the Master/Judge will include that in your "income" to be used for determining child support.


Child support in Maryland is calculated based on these specific things and not based on any of the possible labels involving "Legal custody."


The number of over-nights the child spends with each parent, which is a major factor that determines the amount of child support ordered.


See our page on Maryland Custody for an explanation of Maryland Custody terms such as "Legal" custody and "Physical" custody.


In Maryland, child support generally accrues from the date of filing, so if no child support is ordered before the Trial, the judge can order "back-pay" child support going back to the date of the filing.


Maryland Child Support laws apply to Mothers as well as to Fathers.


Child Support is separate from "Alimony" and/or "Monetary Award," and Maryland courts do not use a standard formula to determine Custody, Alimony, or Monetary Award.


Maryland Family Law decisions regarding Custody and Alimony are different than the issue of child support and are based on standards of and arguments of "equity," and/or "best interest of the child," rather than on specific formulas or rules.   The complex interaction of the separate laws regarding Custody, Child Support, Alimony, and Monetary Award is one of the reasons why experienced Family Law attorneys usually avoid giving quick answers without discussion, analysis, or clarification.   Another reason experienced attorneys usually refrain from giving quick answers is because they know that Maryland Law requires that each Family Law case must be judged independently from all others and each judgment must be based on the unique set of circumstances that are involved in each case.   Accordingly, in order to give you the best advice possible (or even adequate advice) regarding your case, an attorney would need to find out all of the unique facts and circumstances involved.


Maryland judges can deviate from the Maryland Child Support Guidelines if they choose to do so.   Judges have much discretion in Maryland Family Law courts.


The Maryland Family Law Court system is complex and Maryland Family Law requires judges to consider many variables and laws before making a decision in each Family Law case.   Individual laws cannot be fully comprehended without understanding how they interact with each other and within the elaborate Maryland Family Law Court system, and trying to interpret individual laws without understanding this could decrease your chance of achieving an outcome that is favorable to you in your case.   It is therefore in your best interest to have a full consultation with an experienced Family Law attorney regarding your particular case or situation before making any agreements or filing anything with a Family Law Court.




Maryland Child Support Calculator


Failure to pay Child Support is treated very seriously by the State of Maryland.   Here are some things that they can do to enforce payment of past-due child support in Maryland (per Annotated Code of Maryland, Family Law Article 10-113):

          Your federal tax refund may be intercepted;
          Certain federal or state payments, which might be paid to you, may be intercepted;
          If you owe arrearages of child support in an amount exceeding $2,500.00, you may be denied a passport;
          Your past-due child support may be reported to credit bureaus;
          The license, certificate, registration, or permit that is necessary for you to practice or work in a particular business, occupation, or profession may be suspended or denied;
          Your driver's license may be suspended;
          Your personal or real property may be subject to lien and seizure; and/or
          Your Maryland State Lottery winnings may be intercepted


You could also be put in jail for failure to pay past-due child support.






*Do not forget to fill in childcare costs either party may claim are necessary to work and health insurance costs either party may likely claim -- This will affect the amount of child support ordered.  


**Be sure to also use the gross income for each of you -- The amount of your paychecks before any deductions are taken out -- These are the numbers the Courts will use in regard to your income you receive from employment.   If you have any income that does not come from formal employment, but from businesses you may be involved in, interest you may be earning, rent you may be receiving for properties you own or co-own, etc., the Master/Judge will consider that income as well.   If you have your own business, and/or your child attends private school, you should consult a Maryland Family Law Attorney as soon as possible.


***These numbers are for Child support only and do not include other support that may be awarded to married parties, such as alimony, contribution to maintain the marital residence if the other side gets a "use and possession" award, and/or monetary award.


What being "Above the Guidelines" means in Maryland Child Support Law:

In Maryland Child Support Law, if the combined income of the mother and the father together is greater than $15,000 a month (It was $10,000 a month before October 1, 2010), then this is called being "Above The Guidelines."   This means the Judge can be creative in setting the amount of child support.   Some Judges choose to use software that simply continues with the same formula at the higher numbers, but they are not obligated to do that.   --They have the discretion to set the amount a different way, so it is important to understand that the Judge could set it for more or less than the software may indicate if the case is "Above The Guidelines."


Maryland judges can also deviate from the Guidelines even if cases are not "Above The Guidelines" cases if they choose to do so.   Judges have much discretion in Maryland Family Law courts.