Some of the most important parenting decisions have to do with how the children will spend their time. Children try out all sorts of activities, play several sports, join clubs, and become engaged in social and religious groups. Even for parents who want to allow their child to try everything, costs can get in the way. Parents often have differences of opinion on how to prioritize and pay for these commitments, especially when they are not together.
In Maryland, child support does not factor in the costs of extra-curricular activities. The state’s child support guidelines only add costs for such activities that are deemed to address the child’s needs. Child support is determined not by the child’s expenses, but by the parent’s income and the custody arrangement. Naturally, it is assumed that both parents should contribute for the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Additionally, the arrangement accounts for common expenses, such as work-related child care and school supplies, as well as medical insurance premiums, co-pays, and related costs.
In cases where the parents’ combined income works out to $15,000 or less per month, the state requires that the child support guidelines be followed. The formula uses the gross earnings from all sources, factors in tax deductions, and accounts for certain child-related expenses. The calculations also reflect other money, such as alimony paid between the parents, or alimony or child support payments from prior relationships.
Shared and Joint Custody
The custody arrangement is determined by how much time the child will spend with each parent. When one parent has primary physical custody of the child, and the other parent has the child fewer than 128 days per year, then the primary physical custody guidelines apply. In a shared custody arrangement, where both parents have the child for at least 128 days per year, child support is calculated using the shared physical custody guidelines.
A non-custodial parent may be able to reduce their child support obligation if they are contributing elsewhere. For example, this is possible by making payments on a mortgage on the property where the child lives, , or making direct payments into an account to benefit the child’s future.
Modifications to the Arrangement
A material change in circumstances may be cause to modify a child support agreement. Such material changes must be directly relevant to the child support amount and be significant enough to warrant a modification. Shifts in payer-parent income, the child’s expenses, or the number of overnight stays may qualify as a material change.
Baltimore Child Support Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients with Custody Issues
Before finalizing a shared custody agreement that includes a child support obligation, parents should seek the legal guidance of an experienced Baltimore child support lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150 to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.