In Maryland, the amount of nights of visitation affect the amount of child support paid to the custodial parent. Generally, with 127 or less nights of visitation, for the same amount of income, the same amount of child support is payable. However, when the non-custodial parent has 128 overnights of visitation, the amount of child support payable is reduced dramatically, approximately 50%. Simply by having one more night of visitation, the non-custodial parent pays the primary parent a dramatically smaller amount of child support.
Unfortunately, that creates “trauma” for both parents. Hopefully, both parents and their counsel wish to arrive at a child access schedule which is in the best interest of the children as well as the parents. However, this “cliff” places an unfortunate and sometimes overwhelming financial consideration on this topic. Clearly, it is in the best interest of children to determine the nights of visitation irrespective of any financial impact. However, the “cliff” is so dramatic and immediate, that, simply by increasing the number of nights of visitation to 128, there are powerful financial motivations for both parties.
There is no easy answer to this problem. We encourage our clients to seek what is best for the children, irrespective of the financial considerations; nevertheless we understand that neither party can ignore the financial impact of “stepping off the cliff.” We hope that our legislature, in its wisdom, will address this important issue. We believe that the “cliff” needs to be altered to a more gradual slope. That would dramatically reduce the financial incentive for the battle over a few additional nights of visitation.
For information about child support, call the law offices of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, at (443) 589-0150 or contact us online. Our Hunt Valley family law attorneys represent clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, including Towson, Baltimore, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster and Essex.