Can Parents Agree to No Child Support in Maryland?

Under Maryland law, both parents have an obligation to financially support their children. Learn more about how parents can legally agree on no child support.

Can Parents Agree to No Child Support in Maryland?

Under Maryland law, the right to receive child support is a right that belongs to a child. The custodial parent cannot give up the alimony due to the child. If you and your partner can accept child support payments and include this agreement in your divorce or separation agreement documents, the court should not have to intervene. However, any agreement that completely absolves a parent of their child support responsibilities may not be valid in court if a judge decides that the agreement is not in the best interest of the child. If you are a divorcing parent or if you have never married your child's other parent and are ending the relationship, you may need information about child support.

In Maryland, both parents, whether married or not, have an obligation to support their children. It is highly recommended that you consult an experienced family law attorney during the separation process; even if your divorce is amicable, an attorney will be able to explain your options and what each parent should do to facilitate the transition to a two-home life for everyone involved. In addition to counting actual earnings, if a court finds that a parent is choosing not to work or is choosing to work in a job with a lower wage than the parent's requirements, it can impute (assign) the income and increase the child support obligation of that parent accordingly. In Maryland, custody and visitation arrangements, alimony awards, and child support orders from previous relationships can affect support amounts. You have completed divorce proceedings and established alimony through the court, but you are not receiving payments.

Once the court has issued an initial child support order, a parent who wants to modify (change) the support order must show that the circumstances have changed substantially and continuously. If the child support order departs from the guidelines, both the court file and the order itself must include conclusions that indicate what the scheduled amount would be, how the order differs from that amount, and why the order benefits the children. If you make child support payments, you cannot deduct those payments from your income when you file your taxes. Generally speaking, the non-custodial parent will make child support payments to the custodial parent. Maryland law requires continued child support payments for children who turn 18 while still enrolled in high school.

Maryland guidelines recognize that, in co-parenting agreements, both parents must maintain an essentially full-time residence for a child, resulting in an overall increase in both the total costs of raising children and in the expenses of each parent. For a court to have jurisdiction or legal authority to compel a parent to pay child support, it must have personal jurisdiction over the parent. Once the court establishes child support payments, the Maryland Child Support Administration (CSA) takes over. In addition, if a child has reached the age of majority but is unable to support himself due to mental or physical illness, parents have a duty to provide the indigent adult child with food, shelter, care, and clothing. Keep in mind that agreements that completely waive child support may not be enforceable in court if they are considered not to benefit the boy. The ability to find an attorney, go to court, and set up court-ordered child support payments may seem tedious but it is necessary for Maryland courts to help you enforce child support.

It is important for parents to understand their rights and obligations when it comes to providing financial assistance for their children.

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