Under Maryland law, child support continues until a child reaches 18 years of age. It can extend to age 19 if the child is still enrolled in secondary school. The agency will demand payment of any alimony arrears regardless of the child's age. The other legal responsibilities of both parents will also be taken into account when determining child support.
A parent who does not receive alimony can use any available legal instruments to enforce the order, including wage garnishment, wage assignment, disregard of court judgments, and seizure of the parent's property by order of execution. The court will not reduce child support payments to make it easier for parents to pay their discretionary obligations. The amount of support can be decided through an agreement or through a lawsuit before a judge. The law now gives the court the authority to refuse to order child support under certain circumstances.
Parents can prevent child support from becoming a contentious issue and avoid legal expenses by coming to an agreement. If the non-custodial parent pays child support from a previous marriage, the court will take this into consideration. For a court to have jurisdiction or legal authority to compel a parent to pay child support, it must have personal jurisdiction over the father. Agreements that completely waive child support may not be valid in court if they are not in the best interests of the child.
Once a valid child support order is issued, that state still has the power to grant child support, even if it no longer has contact with the parent or children who receive it. Since 1990, Maryland has had child support guidelines which provide a formula for calculating child support based on a proportion of each parent's gross income. A court that does not have adequate jurisdiction does not have the legal authority to order child support. There is also a new formula for calculating child support obligations when a parent with shared physical custody stays with the child or children overnight for more than 25%, but less than 30% of the year.
Child support payments cannot be deducted from income when filing taxes. To avoid litigation, both parents can agree on an appropriate amount of child support and make this agreement part of a marriage separation agreement. At the hearing, each spouse (or their lawyer) will have the opportunity to question the other about issues related to alimony, and each spouse can request documents and call witnesses to support their position on the amount of child support to be paid.