In most cases, a stepparent is not required to pay child support for their stepchildren. Child support is typically based on the income of both biological parents. While stepparents’ income is generally excluded from child support calculations, they may be responsible for making payments if they legally adopt a child or if they agree to pay child support as a part of a marital settlement agreement.
Who Can File for Child Support?
In Maryland, any legal custodian of a child may file for child support, including parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and court-appointed guardians. Those filing for child support services must complete an application and file with their local child support office along with the application fee. They are typically processed within 90 to 180 days, however the process may be delayed by factors, such as a parent who lives out of state, fails to appear for a hearing, or is incarcerated.
How is Child Support Calculated?
State law determines the way courts calculate child support. Some states use the percentage of income model, which calculates child support based on a set percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. Maryland, however, follows the income shares model, which is based on the concept that children should receive the same support they would have received if their parents still lived together. The income of those who are living with or married to one of the child’s parents is generally not factored into the equation.
In calculating child support, Maryland courts will consider the following:
- Income of both parents
- Number of children
- Cost of the children’s health insurance
- Current child support being paid for other children
- Alimony being paid or received
- Cost of day care
- Cost of extraordinary medical expenses for the children
Does Remarriage Affect Child Support?
Spousal support payments must generally continue until one of the divorced spouses dies or gets remarried. However, child support does not work the same way; remarriage does not terminate a parent’s financial responsibility toward their child. If a parent is ordered to pay child support, they must continue making payments until the child turns 18 years old, while the child is still enrolled in high school, or if the child is unable to support themselves due to a mental or physical disability.
Only those who are legally obligated to provide child support may receive credit for it, according to the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS). Those who remarry or have another child after their divorce may make modifications to child support. Only the support of those with custody, guardianship, or adoptive rights will be considered in calculating child support.
If one wishes to make child support modifications, they should contact a lawyer right away. Additionally, a stepparent may go to a lawyer to gain knowledge about their rights.
Baltimore County Child Support Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Stepparents Navigate Family Law Issues
If you have any questions regarding your child support obligations as a stepparent, contact one of our Baltimore County child support lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our experienced lawyers help clients with various types of family law issues. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 443-589-0150. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County.