Does Spouse Income Affect Child Support in Maryland?

Find out how spousal income affects child support payments in Maryland and what other factors are taken into account when calculating alimony.

The salary of the new spouse has no influence on what must be paid for child support in Maryland. Even if your spouse earns a significant salary, this won't affect the payments. When calculating child support, a court cannot assign the income of the new spouse to one parent. Maryland law specifically defines income as the actual income of a parent, not a parent's subsequent spouse.

For example, in a Maryland case, the court explained that the income of the subsequent spouse could not be allocated even to an underemployed parent. In the case, the court refused to consider the earning potential of the father's new wife even though her earning capacity was greater than his. While the parent who does not have custody has the right to start another family, they should always consider the children and consult an attorney before remarrying. However, if you remarry as a non-custodial parent, you must still pay child support.

Fortunately, your new spouse's income is not part of your child support calculation. Maryland uses an income-sharing model to calculate child support, which is known as the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. This model is based on the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income as they would have received in an intact family. Child support is based on each party's gross monthly income (before taxes).

The guidelines take into account the income of both parents, the number of minor children in the family, the cost of health insurance for children, each parent's access schedule, and the costs of child care and extraordinary medical expenses. For the purpose of child support in Maryland, parents' real income includes parental wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, dividend income, pension income, trust income, and social security benefits. However, either parent can request a modification of child support if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Like custody, the amount of support can be decided through an agreement or discussed before a judge.

An absolute divorce is what most people think of when referring to divorce; it completely breaks the marital relationship, divides property and debts, and establishes child custody, spousal support (if any), parenting time, and child support. For a court to have jurisdiction or legal authority to compel a father to pay child support, it must have personal jurisdiction over the father or mother. Therefore, a parent who does not receive alimony can use any and all available legal instruments to enforce the order. Maryland law requires continued child support payments for children who turn 18 while still enrolled in high school.

If this is proven, the court will continue to treat the father as if he were earning income and “imputing” it for calculating alimony. The non-custodial parent's ability to pay is also taken into account when deciding on an amount.

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