How Much Does Child Support Cost in Maryland?

Learn about Maryland's new child support guidelines and how they affect parents who must manage growing payments with diminishing revenues.

How Much Does Child Support Cost in Maryland?

If you choose to submit the application by mail, you can pick up an application at your local child support office, request that a request be mailed to you by contacting DHS Customer Service at 800-332-6347, or download and print the application using the link below. The new child support guidelines in Maryland have caused some confusion among lawyers, courts and parents. To make sure that the benefits of the new guidelines are fully harnessed and risks are mitigated, it is important to be aware of the current debate and confusion. Critics of the revised guidelines argue that Maryland's child support guidelines were initially written to take into account annual inflation, since the matrix is based on the gross income of the parties, which increases with the cost of living.

In general, the parent who has primary physical custody of the children (the custodial parent) is the person who will receive child support. If there is a support order for other children, this amount will be taken into account when calculating the guidelines. In 1990, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law establishing guidelines for child support in Maryland in all cases, as long as the parties' incomes meet the matrix of the guideline. Under both the old child support law and the new law, certain areas are left to the discretion of the court.

For Maryland, and any state that balances its desire to reinforce child support with economic reality, legislation can be a double-edged sword for parents who must manage growing payments with diminishing revenues. Different courts may adopt different interpretations of the new legislation on child support guidelines and to which cases it applies. The ambiguity focuses on whether it applies to any case processed after October 1 or only to cases filed after October 1, not to mention requests for retroactive modification of alimony. A provision has been eliminated which stated that if adoption or revision of child support guidelines would result in a change in compensation of 25 percent or more, it would be a reason to request a modification of alimony.

In addition, section 12-202 of the Maryland Code family law article states that application of child support guidelines is presumed correct, but this presumption can be refuted with evidence that it would be unfair or inappropriate in a particular case. However, any decision made by the court to reduce amount of child support must be in best interests of children. The Department of Human Services has a child support calculator that you can use to estimate amount of child support in your case.

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