In Maine, the Division of Support Enforcement and Recover works alongside the Department of Health and Human Services divisions. Their primary goal is to make sure that the non-custodial parent is contributing to the economic support of their children. their children.
Levels of Child Support Cases
In the state of Maine there are two levels in which child support service may be offered. Most cases fall under the full services cases, which includes the establishment of paternity, collections, establishing orders that include medical and child care payments, handling the disbursement of funds, periodically reviewing the case to establish and re-establish amounts, as well as modifying child support orders when necessary. These cases are called ‘full service’ cases. There are ‘limited service’ cases where one or the other parent has an income withholding order. These are very rare and are determined on a case by case basis by the court.
Child Support Laws versus Child Custody
Many often confuse child support with child custody. Child support is the money that both parents contribute to the welfare and raising of the child. Child custody is a determination of which parent, in the case of a divorce, will be giving the most care to the child. In other words, the parent that lives with the child is called the Custodial or primary parent, whereas the other parent is the non-custodial parent. The parent who is the non-custodial parent is responsible for making funds available for use in the child’s care by the custodial parent.
Judges who rule on child support in Maine use the Child Support Guidelines and Schedule of Basic Child Support, which you can view here: http://www.courts.state.me.us/fees_forms/forms/pdf_forms/fm/FM-084%20Child%20Support%20Table,%20Rev%2001_09.pdf
This schedule shows the gross income amounts what the parent must pay based on the combine gross incomes and the number of children they have together. The amounts differ based on the age of the children because the court recognizes that the monetary needs of a child changes over the years. To get a more accurate number you can go to the Maine Judicial Branch website, though most state that it is very difficult to use. The best bet is to obtain a mediator who practices family law, or to find a good divorce attorney. The calculator provided is just a ballpark estimate for you. Still, it can give you an idea of what you are looking at: http://www.alllaw.com/calculators/childsupport/maine/
Important Changes to Child Support Payments in Maine
As of this year, if you receive public assistance in any way, then those funds may be used to determine income, now. In the past, these were exempt from income. If you receive money that is in a lump sum (tax returns, refunds, etrc…) then it will be claimed as income.
Changes to the court orders can be made if after determining the basic support obligation it is shown that it is in the best interest of the child and will not affect their care in any way. For example, negotiations are possible in regards to health insurance premiums, child care expenses (a cheaper alternative can be found in some cases), as well as medical expenses.