Child Support Calculations
CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT
In the State of Maryland, child support is first determined by a mathematical formula which utilizes each parent’s gross income, before taxes. The mathematical formula is known as “The Maryland Child Support Guidelines”. There may be facts and circumstances which might cause a court to deviate from the guidelines, but as a general rule, the guidelines apply.
These guidelines which are a part of the statute, contain other provisions of child support law in Maryland. These provisions include the definitions to determine exactly what is, or is not, “income”; and how and when child support is modified over the years where there is a change in income or circumstances.
The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Program website link located at the bottom of this page permits you to actually view the child support law. I suggest that you read through it to obtain an understanding of the factors involved in calculating child support. While you may not be an attorney, you probably will be able to understand and educate yourself to a large extent.
This website link requests entries for the case number and names. You can just make them up, they do not change the calculations. You must know or estimate how many overnights each parent will have with the children in order for the calculator to determine whether physical custody is sole (one parent having 238 or more overnights, the other having 127 or less) or joint ( one parent having 237 or less overnights, the other having 128 or more). If you have not agreed on how overnights will work, you may not be ready to make the exact calculations, however you can still get an idea of the range of child support figures. Don't forget to include vacations, summers and holidays when thinking about overnights. You must also enter information on the cost of the health insurance premium (but only the portion of the premium which is attributable to the children, i.e. It the family premium costs $250/month and an individual premium was $100/month, then the $150 of the premium is attributable to the children.)
The Macho-Man Phenomenon. Child Support is not optional in Maryland, even if the parents wanted to agree to no child support. Many times where the mother earns significantly more than the father, entitling the father to recieve support from the mother under the guidelines, the father does not want the child support provision as part of the couple's separation agreement (it's the "man-macho" phenomenon.) If that were permitted under the law, children would be "short-changed" when they were with Dad. There would be less money for rent, lessening the child's quality of life when with Dad , or less money for simple things like have internet access, going to movies or on vacation with Dad. The lawmakers of Maryland have determined that children are entitled to share in the relative wealth of their parents. So if Mom must pay Dad child support under the guidelines, this is for the benefit of the children, even if Dad indirectly benefits from "taking" money from Mom. If a couple attempts to circumvent the guidelines in this situation in their separation agreement, they will likely find that the master or judge presiding over their uncontested divorce hearing refuses to "sign off" without the guideline child support calculation having been ordered as part of the judgment of divorce ("uncontested" because both parties want to divorce and all issue having been resolved and memorialized into their Separation Agreement). There may be a variety of ways that the Child Support is paid, other than a direct payment from one spouse to another or other ways to make it more palatable for dads in this situation (i.e. Mom purchases 100% of clothing, or non-reimbursed medical expenses, or private school costs, or camp or all sports and activity fees.) Parents can always agree to make payments exceeding the guidelines.
If you use this online calculator, please note that I cannot guarantee its accuracy and you should not rely upon it as legal advice or as the definite child support figure. I provide it solely for your convenience. BEFORE YOU AGREE TO ANY CHILD SUPPORT FIGURE YOU SHOULD HAVE IT CALCULATED BY A LEGAL PROFESSIONAL.
The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Program:
http://www.dhr.state.md.us/CSOCGuide/App/disclaimer.do - Child Support Calculator