Child support is a right that belongs to the child. Therefore, both parents have a legal duty to support their children based on their ability to provide that support. In Maryland, the amount of child support paid for the maintenance of a child depends on a few different factors, but mainly the income of both parties and the number of overnight stays the child has with each parent. The use of the Maryland Child Support Guidelines is mandatory if the parties’ combined gross incomes are less than Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00) per month.
Under the old Maryland statute, “shared physical custody” meant that the non-custodial parent had the child or children overnight for more than 35% of the time, or 128 overnights per year. If a parent had the child or children less than 35% of the time, or 127 overnights per year or less, then the sole custody Guidelines applied.
Maryland’s Child Support Guidelines calculations were recently revised for parents with certain custody arrangements. The new Maryland child support statute took effect on October 1, 2020 and converted the concrete “128 overnights” divider between sole and shared custody Guidelines into a downward slope between the two sets of Guidelines. The new Maryland child support statute lowers the number of overnights a parent has with the children from 35% to 25% of the time, which means that the sole custody Guidelines will only be applicable to cases where the non-custodial parent has the child or children less than 25% of the time, or less than 92 overnights per year.
The new Maryland child support statute only applies to cases filed on or after October 1, 2020. While the change does not automatically change existing cases or legal agreements, it can be applied towards filings to modify child support from that date forward. It’s important to note that other factors are also used to determine child support calculations in Maryland, including, primarily, the income of each parent, in addition to certain qualifying expenses such as work related child care, health insurance premiums, and extraordinary medical expenses.
For more information on how the new Maryland Child Support Guidelines statute may impact your family, set up a consultation today at Jacobson Family Law by calling 443-741-1147 or simply set up an appointment on our website.