Child Support in Maryland is calculated based on a formula that is controlled by law in the state of Maryland. The calculation is based on the use of Child Support Guidelines. For parents whose combined income is $180,000.00 or less, the formula set forth in the statute that combines the income of the parties, also takes into account alimony that is paid or received, work-related child care expenses, health insurance premiums attributable to the child or children and the payment of extraordinary medical expenses for the child or children.
If one of the parents has sole physical custody of the child/children (defined as less than 128 overnight visits to the non- custodial parent), then the number of overnight visits that the children have with the non-custodial parent does not affect the monthly child support amount. However, if the parents share physical custody of the children and the number of overnights with each parent exceeds 128 overnights, then the formula adjusts the amount of child support based on the number of overnights. A parent who has sole physical custody will receive a higher monthly child support amount than a parent who has shared physical custody.
For families where the combined annual income is over $180,000.00, the same formula can be used but the court has discretion in setting the amount of child support. Generally the courts in Maryland will use an extrapolated formula based on the Child Support Guidelines even where the combined incomes exceed $180,000.00. Sometimes the courts will consider the costs of private school tuition, the particular educational needs of a child and transportation expenses in determining the monthly amount of child support to be paid.
Occasionally there are parents who either choose to be underemployed or choose not to work at all even though they have the ability to work. In those circumstances, the court can impute income to the non-working or under-employed parent. A parent who chooses not to work or who is working below their prior income-producing level may find themselves paying child support based on income that they could have earned had they made the effort. The use of the Child Support Guidelines in Maryland has created more uniformity and certainty in the award of child support.