Knowing what can be included in child support payments and how it is divided can save you from bearing unanticipated costs. In Maryland, child support is governed by the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. Included in the guidelines is the formula on how to determine the basic amount of child support due, what type of added expenses can be included on top of the basic obligation, and how to divide the child support between the parents.
The guidelines provide a table that reflects how much basic child support is due per child depending on the combined actual income of the parents. However, if the combined monthly income of the parents are above the guidelines, currently $15,000.00, then the court has more discretion in setting the basic amount of child support. Furthermore, the court has the ability to set child support not just based on actual income, but the court could also impute income onto a parent based on historical or projected income. The support calculated pursuant to the child support guidelines is presumptive, but not mandatory.
Different types of costs that can be tacked on top of the basic child support to be split between the parents. Generally, the following expenses can be added on top of the basic obligation: the cost of maintaining health insurance for the child, extraordinary medical expenses, and work-related child care. Costs incurred to maintain health insurance and unreimbursed medical expenses over $100 are normally added on top of the basic child support. The court can also add on child care costs if they find it a necessary expense due to the employment or job search of either parent. Extra costs incurred from regular extracurricular activities are generally not added onto the child support.
The court usually follows the guidelines closely but could depart from it if there is a showing of outside or special circumstances that would make following the guidelines inappropriate. If you find yourself outside the scope of the guidelines based on your income, consult an attorney to learn more about what child support would be appropriate in your specific circumstances.