When parents divorce, both parents are legally responsible for the care of the children that they both had together. For more than 30 years Maryland has had child support guidelines in effect that use a formula to calculate the amount of child support that individuals will pay. In most instances, the parent whom the children live with are considered the full time parents, while the part time parent is considered the non-custodial parent. While both parents contribute monetarily to the wellbeing of the child, the non-custodial parent is the one that will be sending money toward the care, each month.
Court Action in Maine Child Support
When the courts become involved it is required to decide how much the non-custodial parent must pay. Child support, like custody, can become hotly debated and often must be sorted out with the assistance of a judge. If both parents can amicably agree to an arrangement, then the courts will remain out of the picture and the legal expense of litigation can removed. For many, it is a wise move to include the child support payment (as well as any alimony) into the divorce decree or included in some sort of marital agreement.
Child Support Orders in Maryland
Most child support orders have several sections in them. The paying parent will be ordered officially to remit a certain amount of money each month to the custodial parent. Many paying parents resent having to send the check or money order directly to the custodial parent because they believe that they are giving the money to that parent for their own use. This is a misinterpretation of that order. The money is used for rent, food, and clothing for the child. If the paying parent can prove otherwise, then the court can modify the order.
Child support payments end when the child reaches 18, or declares him/herself an independent minor. If the child passes away the payments will also stop. In the case of the child declaring emancipation, the courts must make a ruling as this is often a hotly debated topic. If your child has passed away, become emancipated, has married, then it is up to the paying parent to contact the court and let them know of the changes that have occurred. Otherwise, you will be held in contempt and dire fines and levies could happen.
Child Support Means MORE than Just Money Each Month
Child support is an often very vague title that encompasses many benefits, other than monetary. For example, support can also include health and life insurance policies, co-pays, daycare, extracurricular activities (band, sports), and can include round-trip airfare should the child need to travel to spend time with the non-custodial parent. If the child resides with the non-custodial parent for longer than 2 weeks (for example, summer or spring break), then the support amount is reduced by 50$ a month.
The Court has Final Authority on Child Support Issues
Keep in mind that the court has a wide leeway in determining the level of support that a non-custodial parent will be required to comply with. For example, if they deem it necessary, they can order that the non-custodial parent continue to pay child support even if the child has reached majority, for example, if the child is disabled, or is still in high school. College expenses may also be included in a court’s order if the agreement was made sometime in the past and is included in the court order.