When two parents decide to part ways, whether through divorce or separation, the topic of child support may be discussed. Regardless of the parent’s feelings toward one another, it is important to put the child’s needs first, whether they be emotional or financial. Parents and children are entitled to parenting time and child support to keep estranged families intact and taken care of following a divorce. Understanding child support laws is an important step that is necessary to maintain a beneficial financial and emotional relationship between parents and children.
What is Child Support?
Child support is money that a parent is court-ordered to pay to their child’s custodial parent or guardian to provide for their child’s care and well-being. In Maryland, the following must apply in order to receive child support:
- A parent or guardian must have primary or joint custody of the child in question.
- The child must be financially dependent and live in the custodial parent’s household or jointly between the parties.
- Paternity, as well as child support, must be established through a court order.
A shared income model is used to determine the amount of child support. When determining child support amounts, Maryland takes the following information into account:
- The income of both parents, as well as the costs of daycare and health insurance for children.
- Outside sources of income, including child support being paid for other children (if applicable), and alimony being paid or received.
- The number of children and their needs. In some cases, children may require extra medical care or attention. These extraordinary expenses are considered when determining child support payments.
If circumstances change, both parents have a right to request a review or modification of a child support order.
Child Support Collection and Enforcement
Child support in Maryland consists of regular child support payments, as well as temporary cash assistance. The Maryland Child Support Administration handles all child support payments. Although the option for direct deposit can be selected, most parents eligible for child support receive payments through the Electronic Payment Insurance Card program. This creates a separate bank account for child support payments and provides you with a debit card to use for your child’s needs. If the noncustodial parent fails to pay court ordered child support payments, the following actions may be taken:
- Withholding of child support from wages, including unemployment benefits and compensation claims.
- Interception of federal and state tax refunds to pay accumulated child support.
- Suspension of driver or professional licenses.
- Reporting of past due child support to credit bureaus.
Purpose of Child Support
Child support serves a purpose by reducing poverty and financial insecurity among children and custodial parents. It helps to provide children with basic needs including food, water, and shelter, but also assists in the overall care of the child, such as healthcare, schooling, and extracurricular activities.
Towson Child Support Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Assist in All Family Law Matters
Our experienced and dedicated team of child support lawyers in Towson at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are experienced with the difficulties that often accompany divorce and child custody. We work to keep the best interests of parents and children in mind when drafting custody agreements. If you or someone you know is struggling to determine child support or obtain child custody in Maryland, do not hesitate to contact us online or call 443-589-0150 to schedule a free consultation.